Allow me to get a little political here. On Sunday I’m moving countries for the 2nd time in my life. The first time was as a student from Sweden to the UK. It was a fairly smooth move. It took about a year to get familiar with the local authority stuff. But generally as I had a lot of guidance and information from the university (and 2 British flatmates), I didn’t need to do much more than pack a bag, buy a ticket and find the place I was staying.
This time around I’m moving from the UK to Holland (another EU country, freedom of movement and all that!), and it’s proving a little bit more difficult. Legal documents need to get validated, tax systems have to be transferred over and different rules in different countries mean I need to figure out which UK laws will still apply to me (what with my employment contract still being here in the UK), and which Dutch laws I now have to abide by (health insurance, social security etc.). On top of that the matter is make more complex by the fact that I’m actually a citizen of a third EU country, Sweden. So most of my legal stuff is based there…
And here I was thinking that the point of the EU is that you could just pack up and move around! Whatever happened to the idea of open borders? I know a lot of people in this country are skeptical towards the EU, but just think how much more difficult things would be without it! In a world like the one we live in today, where people want to move around and work in different places, why would you want to isolate yourself more? Why would you want to set up more barriers and rules to “protect yourself” when that also means locking out the rest of the world? I know all the arguments people make about immigration and what not, but come on! More than 75% of the people in my office are from another country than the UK. More than half my friends here, aren’t from the UK. A rich country like this has a responsibility to accept people from all over the world, and the fact that a vast majority of immigrants in the country work and contribute to the economy is almost always overlooked.
Open borders benefits all cultures, flow of skills and the economy. What’s not to like?