More and more Romanians want to leave the UK because of Brexit: "We are an important part"


Part III. Over 15,000 Romanians work in the British health system.

A couple of Romanian doctors are thinking about packing and leaving the UK because of Brexit.

They have good salaries and are respected by their colleagues. But he is worried about the attitude of some of the British towards foreigners. Anti-immigrant sentiment affects many Romanians, according to non-governmental organizations in London.

London is dependent on East European workers.

Elisabeta Pop, City Hall of London: “There are 200,000 Romanians in London. Considering that there are a million European citizens in London, it means that 1 in 5 Europeans in London are Romanian. ”

Elisabeta Pop works at the City Hall of London, at the Department for Social Integration.

Elisabeta Pop, City Hall of London: “Romanians are first and foremost an important part of the construction industry. London needs 50,000 houses built every year. Currently, 70% of those houses are built by Romanians. ”

The Mayor of London is against Brexit. He started a campaign: "London is Open", which wants to convey to immigrants that they are welcome in the capital of the United Kingdom.

Elisabeta Pop, City Hall of London: "In today's UK political system, you may feel that this is not necessarily your home, although you have worked and paid taxes for over 10 years."

Paul Angelescu: "Why do you say that?"

Elisabeth Pop: "Because, remember, in 2016, just before the referendum, almost every headline in the UK was about Romanians. Whether it was Daily Mail, Daily Express. We invade, create problems, a very negative narrative about Romanians, which has materialized in different political parties that have benefited from this narrative to divide people. ”

The British government has announced that all European citizens already in the UK, including Romanians, will be able to remain after Brexit. In order to receive the right of residence, the EU Settlement Scheme must be registered by December 2020.

Elisabeth Pop, City of London: "I cannot be clearer: if you do not have the right to stay in the UK through settled or pre-settled status, you become an illegal immigrant."

Andrew Noble is the ambassador of the United Kingdom to Romania.

Valentin Munteanu, consul: "We do not encourage them."

Paul Angelescu: "Don't you encourage them? Why?"

Consulit: "Because we want to go home."

Paul Angelescu: "But they want to stay."

Paul Angelescu: "If they want to stay, we make their information available."

Those who are there for less than 5 years, that is, most Romanians, will receive the status of "pre-settled", the others of "settled". Applications can be made online, including on the phone.

Elisabeta Pop, City Hall of London: "With settled status you can stay in the UK as much as you want, it is a permanent status, pre-settled is a very volatile and uncertain status."

Paul Angelescu: "Why?"

Elisabeta Pop: "You have to apply again, after living for 5 years for settled status."

Paul Angelescu: "And do you guarantee that it will give it automatically?"

Elizabeth Pop: "We cannot know for sure what will happen in the political environment in the UK. Unfortunately settled and pre-settled status are not part of the primary law, therefore any future British prime minister can change this status, so he can take the rights that should have existed in principle by virtue of residence. "

Valentin Munteanu, consul: "It is almost impossible to imagine that someone will try to change this fact."

Elisabeta Pop, City Hall of London: "By secondary mechanisms, such as a piece of paper that a minister can write overnight, that status disappears. You may not be able to access the health care system if you do not have a fulls settled status. Unfortunately, there are employers and renters, who are already asking European citizens for proof of being settled or pre-settled which is illegal. "

It is precisely this uncertainty that makes many immigrants think. The doctors Ioana and Dan Dumitrașcu left Romania in 2011. They stayed for two years in Ireland, and since 2013 they have worked in two large hospitals in London. She is a specialist in fetal cardiology, he is a gynecologist.

The British were not expected to vote for Brexit.

Ioana was on duty the night the results were announced.

Ioana, doctor: "I had a little boy, who had just been operated on, things got very complicated. He arrived in intensive care. I was on post-therapy that night. And when he woke up from anesthesia, the first thing his father said, still intubated, ventilated: "You will be so happy when you wake up knowing that Brexit has been voted." I was the doctor I was there, I was with the pads of defribilia and somehow I was helping to save his life. And his father says this: "You will be so happy when you wake up. I couldn't resist, it hurt so hard. And I said, "You know, I'm from the European Union, too." And I said, "You know, I'm from Romania. It was so, a curtain. And he said, "I'm not referring to you, my comment had nothing to do with you." And I said, "But you know, I'm kind of directly interested in what's going to happen with this Brexit."

I say that the hospitals where they work have taken immediate measures to secure their foreign specialists.

Ioana, doctor: "I think the impact for hospitals was also great. In 24 hours I received permanent residence, for fear of losing staff, because in their public health system, almost 30% of nurses are from the EU, and doctors are somewhere at 20%. "

In the meantime, they also applied for British citizenship, but are considering leaving.

Woman: "Brexit, from my point of view, I think is the bullshit we needed to make the decision whether to return home or not."

Paul Angelescu: "If you return to Romania or elsewhere."

Woman: "The variants are still open."

I say that the difference between the wages in Romania and in the United Kingdom is not so great.

Ioana, doctor: "It is a small difference, but if I compare it to the cost of living and what are the prices to live in a metropolis like London and what are the prices to live in Romania, the result might be in favor of Romania, not in favor of the Sea Britain. I repeat, we are talking about state salaries now, after the new increases. "

On the other hand, with a view to the future of Viviana, another European country, such as France, could be chosen.

Woman: "That's the hardest part. This is one of the reasons why I am not so determined to return to Romania. If in the next 12-15 years he will tell us: "Mother, father, why am I here?"

It is a dilemma many of the Romanian parents in the UK face.

Alina Balaţchi, founding member of "Romanian Women in UK": "Around 12,000 children are born to mothers who declare themselves Romanian at birth."

Alina Balaţchi has been living in the United Kingdom since 2004 and is the co-founder of one of the most influential Romanian associations: "Romanian women in the UK."

Paul Angelescu: "Do you have any idea how many years have passed the threshold of 10,000, say?"

Alina Balatchi: "About 2011."

We are talking, then, of over 100,000 children with at least one Romanian-born parent who were born in the British territory.

Alina Balatchi: "We are immigrants at first hand, but our children grow up here. They do not grow up adopted by the society in which they are born. I go to these schools where they will be subject to the scrutiny of their colleagues. They will have to define their identity. If the parent has suffered a trauma and will communicate in a biased way, maybe some of them will be ashamed of the Romanian identity and maybe some of them will not assume it. ”

This year, for the first time since statistics are made, the number of Romanian and Bulgarian workers in the United Kingdom has decreased by two consecutive quarters. From 440 to 350,000, according to data from the British National Statistics Office.

Alina Balatchi: “We had quite a few cases where they reoriented to leave home. I even had cases of people who chose not to teach their children Romanian, and then had to leave home because of Brexit. ”

Alina also teaches at the first Romanian School in London. Parents bring their children every Saturday to learn Romanian and gain general knowledge about the culture of their country.

He watches Romanian films, learns new words and information about Romania's history and geography.

Paul Angelescu: "How is it easier for you to speak, in Romanian, in English?"

Child: "I speak Romanian at home, I only speak English at school."

Paul Angelescu: "And what's next for you, Romanian or English?"

Child: "I would say no, I go to the country, grandparents, I have to learn Romanian."

Paul Angelescu: "But what did you first learn, Romanian or English?"

Child: "For the first time English and from the television I heard Romanian and easily, I started to learn Romanian easily."

Paul Angelescu: "And to write did you first learn Romanian or English?"

Child: "I write in English."

For many, Romanian is the second language. It is natural for them to speak to each other in English.

Veronica Costache, Founder of AlexZ Educational: “The child is used most of the day to speak English. The second aspect is that of belonging. Romanian children at one point do not know who they belong to, in which world they are warming up. If you ask them, the vast majority of them say they are English. If you ask the parents: "No, you are Romanian." And they are confused: "Why am I Romanian if I live in the UK and speak English, why am I not British?"

This is a map of the evolution of Romanian communities in London. As with other immigrant communities and Romanians, they tend to gather in the same neighborhoods. Here is another phenomenon. The pressure it exerts on the public schools I live in.

I requested from the Brent City Hall a list of the schools where most Romanian children are. We identified 20 schools from a list of 50, where we have over 100-150 children. There are schools where there are over 250 Romanians.

There are also situations where colleagues take them because they are Romanian.

Woman: "I had 10 children, to the question:" Have you been discriminated against? ", All 10 stood up. On the idea that yes, go to the country with you, go where you came from, you have nothing to do with me in the country, the neighborhood. And this either exists or has come on the wave of the Brexit campaign. They existed before, but after Brexit they were given a free hand by those who were born here and a power. They understood that they could talk ugly to themselves and at the level of 10-11 years. We understand that the British education system is overloaded. We go to the administrative chain, but this is a reality. ”

Investments in the health system, education or the police are some of the main themes for the December 12 elections. On the one hand, the British public system has been overwhelmed by the increase in the number of immigrants, but they have paid taxes and taxes, and the authorities can build more schools and hospitals or hire more police.

The British are in full swing for the parliamentary election campaign. The Conservatives, who are now in power, want an immigration system in which to choose as many foreigners, including Romanians, from now on, depending on the training and the areas where they need work force. Labor wants to urge the British to vote again for or against Brexit. Meanwhile, Liberal Democrats, the third political force, want to completely abolish Brexit. We will find out after December 12 whether the UK will move on with more or fewer Romanians within its own borders.

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