“I would have taken the settled status, but with Brexit I had to hurry. For me London was an idea even before a real place. It is a place where there are opportunities, in the artistic field, that in my experience there are not in Italy. Brexit, however, has cast doubt on this idea of a safe haven it once represented ».
Serena arrived in London in 2011 and, like many other Europeans residing in the UK, she was quick to apply for permanent residence in 2018 due to Brexit. With the country’s definitive exit from the European Union, which took place last December 31, the free movement of goods and people between the two blocs ended.
To continue to reside in Her Majesty’s kingdom, Europeans who have moved will have to resort (by June of this year) toEU Settlement Scheme which – proving to have resided in the country before 31 December 2020 – gives the right to permanent residence (settled status), for those who have lived in the UK for more than five years, or for temporary residence for five years (pre-settled status), for those who live there for less.
We are light years away from any turnaround. The data confirm that being distant is not the same as being distant
The transition to this new system has brought some changes to the life of Europeans on the island. For example, Serena tells how, in the selection stages to obtain the role she now holds, that is vocal coach at a university in the capital, she was told that she owns the settled status would have represented a preferential requirement for choosing candidates. “If I hadn’t had it, it would have hurt me. The fear is that everything will become more complicated for non-English people and that decisions are made on the basis of what is easier or more difficult from a bureaucratic point of view ”.
And that’s the same impression he got Chiara, a psychologist at the NHS, the British national health service, which arrived in the capital in 2014. «It is already beginning to feel a bit different atmosphere. I am regularly hired on a permanent contract but recently the human resources contacted me asking me for documentation of the settled status. And I found this strange because in the past no one had ever asked us for such a thing. “
And he continues: «They contacted all the Europeans who work in my clinic to ask for proof that they have the right to stay. Having moved here with freedom of movement, it is now strange that we have to prove this right with letters. It is not a great impediment, but it is certainly an annoying thing, because this was not the assumption with which we arrived here in 2014 ».
Immigration has been one of the key issues in the Brexit debate and Europeans, who from 1 January 2021 want to move to study or work in the United Kingdom, will have to clash with the new immigration points system that “favors skills and the talent of people with respect to their origin “, as the
of the British government on the subject.
With the new system, it will no longer be possible to enter the country as tourists and then calmly look for a job. From now on you can only move to the United Kingdom for work by having a visa, for example that for “skilled workers”, which is obtained by satisfying a series of requirements, including: knowledge at level B1 of ‘English and a job offer with a minimum wage threshold usually of £ 25,600 per year.
If the job offer has a salary of less than 25,600 pounds, but not less than 20,480, there is still the possibility of obtaining the visa “by adding points”, for example, with a doctorate in a subject useful to the job that you will go to perform or with a job offer in a sector with a shortage of staff. To be eligible for a visa, a total of 70 points must be accumulated.
From now on, the possibility for Europeans to move to the country without already having a job offer is excluded. All this, to avoid, in the perspective of
, the immigration of unskilled workers from the European Union.
European workers, however, are not the only ones affected by the immigration points system. Even students, who previously could study at prestigious UK universities under the same conditions and paying the same fees as their British and Northern Irish counterparts (lower than for non-Europeans), will now have to apply for a visa and obtain a ‘health insurance.
(UUK) – which gathers the voices of 140 universities in Great Britain and Northern Ireland – as a result of the new immigration system, the British government expects a decrease of around 20% in the number of European students, not counting the impact of the Covid-19 pandemic.
last year of the same body, the importance of the international dimension for UK universities is also underlined. International students make up 20.7% of the total student population; in 2019, 57.2% of English academic publications were the result of international research collaborations compared to 25.7% in 1999; moreover, in the two-year period 2018-2019, 20.9% of the university staff members came from abroad, of which 60% were European citizens. Among these, the Italians are the majority. The component of Italians in the staff of higher education institutions has seen an increase of 41.8% in the last five years.
Eleonora, a professor at a London university, is one of them. “There are already huge funding problems within universities. PhD students will have to find other sources to finance their work and the same goes for research, ”he tells Espresso.
After Brexit, explains Eleonora, the atmosphere on the university campus has also changed: “For example, the day after the vote, in the university cafeteria, two English people heard two foreign boys speaking Spanish and addressed phrases like ‘come back to your Country, this is not your place, we voted for Brexit ”. And this is just anecdotal evidence… but things like that have happened in the rest of the UK as well. I live in London – which is a multicultural city where people accept each other – but, in a way, Brexit has given a voice to the most racist people, who now feel entitled to say ‘we want immigrants out of the country. “”.
Furthermore, the United Kingdom has finally announced its exit from the Erasmus + international mobility program defined by Boris Johnson as “too expensive”. In its place, the author of theIn praise of madness, the premier announced the creation of the most British Turing scheme – named after the English mathematician Alan Turing – which will have, as announced, a global rather than an exclusively European scope.
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