Times Article – EU Workers Protest
Michael expressed to Hannah McGrath his concerns regarding the
status of EU citizens in the UK. You can find the whole article here:
Thousands of EU migrants gathered outside parliament yesterday to protest against being used as “bargaining chips” in the government’s Brexit negotiations and to highlight their contribution to the British economy.
EU workers employed in the UK as NHS staff, cleaners, teachers and university lecturers skipped work to “flag mob” parliament as part of a national action called One Day Without Us.
Among those who joined hands in Parliament Square before meetings to lobby MPs was Michael Arapis, 34, a Greek student who had travelled from Cardiff, where he has been studying to become an international trade lawyer. Mr Arapis, who arrived in the UK 15 years ago, fears that he may not fulfil residency criteria after Brexit.
He said: “There are thousands in my situation, many of them have families and children and we are all concerned about what happens next.”
Many protesters expressed fears that they could lose residency rights and benefits including state pension contributions as a result of a legal requirement for EU citizens to have paid for private health cover for five years.
Ursula du Souzay, an NHS psychotherapist who came from Germany more than 30 years ago, described the uncertainty facing foreign-born workers after the Leave vote as “divisive” and “alienating.” She said: “European migrants living in the UK make a massive contribution — without it lots of services just wouldn’t run.”
Theresa May has faced pressure from MPs to guarantee the right of EU citizens to remain in the UK after Brexit. She has insisted that she is seeking reciprocal protections for British citizens living in the EU.
A report from the New Economics Foundation estimated that a day-long walkout by every migrant worker would cost the UK economy £328 million — equivalent to 4 per cent of GDP. Migrant workers make up an estimated 10.9 per cent of the workforce.