What do the Romanians in the UK think about Brexit, their lives here and if it’s still worth coming here

Romanians in the UK and Brexit, feel like this is the only thing I have been hearing over the news for over year now. Officially the United Kingdom left the European Union on the 1st of February 2020, but we have a transition period until the 1st of January 2021. Until than the EU free movement of people and goods rules still apply, same as before. So we are not going to see any major changes until than.

The Romanian Embassy in London assures us Romanians that entry into the UK will be allowed same as before, just with your EU identity card or valid passport (at least until December 31, 2020). Neither the right to work and live in the UK will not be affected until the end of the year 2020, so theoretically anyone coming here during 2020 should have no problem working and applying for NINO. The Embassy also encourages all Romanians living in the UK to apply for Settled Status by the end of 2020.

I asked the Romanians who are already here what do they think about this whole situation with Brexit, how it affects them and whether it is still worth the trouble to come here. We are after all about four hundred thousand people in this country. I initially did a survey on one of the most numerous fb groups of Romanians in the UK asking what Romanians would do if the economy of the UK takes a hit and the Pound decreases in value to Euro levels.

The largest percentage (more than half of responses) of the vote and surpassing by far any other option, was voted that they would remain in the UK no matter what. As alternative options with less but equal number of votes, were relocation to other English-speaking countries (Canada, USA, Australia, New Zealand) and relocation to other European Latin countries that provide lower salaries but have a more pleasant climate and relaxed lifestyle (France, Spain, Italy). The least popular options, with equal number of votes were voted to return to Romania or move to countries with higher salaries such as Germany, the Netherlands or the Scandinavian countries (Sweden, Norway, Denmark).

Tower Bridge England UK

So we can see at a glance that more than half of the Romanians living in the UK are here to stay and build a permanent life for themselves and their families. A third are willing to go somewhere better where they can have a more relaxed life, and only a very small percentage of about 12% came exclusively for the money and will go back to the home country or to countries with higher wages if the British Pound drops in value.

As an interesting fact, I did the same survey on the group called “Romanians in London”, and the results were very different. Half of the participants voted that they would remain in the UK no matter what, and the other half voted they would go back to Romania or to countries with higher salaries. Life in London is very different from life in the rest of the UK. Life in the London is significantly more expensive. If you do not have a combined income in the house of at least 40,000 pounds a year, it will be very difficult for you to rent your own house. Many immigrants living there don’t plan to stay very long. Add to this the fact that they don’t speak English and all of it leads them in to accepting deplorable working conditions and unsanitary accommodation where they have to sleep 4 or more in one room…. or even worse. For them I think, Brexit might actually be a blessing in disguise as they would have the opportunity to find better and stable employment in mainland Europe, that would also come with decent living conditions.

I asked some of the Romanians living in the UK a few questions about their lives here and how they feel about Brexit. The opinions were very divided, let’s see some of them:

CONSTANTIN, SINCE 2004 IN UK, HAS PERMANENT SETTLED STATUS

-What can you tell me about your life here, do you think you will ever return to Romania?

  • I have been living here since 2004, I have 2 children with UK passport here. I have a house here now. I have absolutely no plans to return to Romania

-Now that the UK has officially left the EU, how do you feel as a Romanian towards Brexit? Do you feel any change here because of Brexit?

  • To tell you honestly, the only thing we will be affected by is the fact that they are racist, the vast majority of them. The rest who came to work will have work here. As for the rest of them, I do not know what will happen, I do not see how Brexit will affect me in any way.

-If the UK economy goes down and the pound goes down, do you think it’s going to be worth staying in the UK? What would you do in this scenario?

  • Do you think it will be better in Romania? Do you think the Leu (Romanian national currency) will ever be as high as the Pound? Do you think you will have the NHS benefits in Romania? However low the pound would sink, you will still be able to live here. My boy has autism, because of him we will never go back to Romania. Although I have relatives working at the hospital in Bucharest, even they advised me not to return to Romania. Each one chooses his future, and each one chooses the best future for his child. I had a house in Romania and I sold it, only my mother is still there now. I also have a brother and a sister here.

-Do you think the UK citizens were right to vote to leave the EU? Will it be a better life for them and for us immigrants in the future?

  • No, the people were misinformed when it was voted, the only reason Brexit was voted for, was immigration. Economically speaking the UK will suffer. Immigration could also be stopped inside the EU. Whatever, they chose now and you can’t fight the windmills. If you are an honest Romanian and you mind your own business doing your job, nobody will have any issue with you. And not only for Romanians is this valid. There are a lot of Romanians who have abused the system and applied for benefits, and the authorities have opened their eyes now and started cleaning house. The problem is when you start cutting the sick branches of the tree, healthy branches also fall.

-Would you recommend to other Romanians interested in coming to the UK to still come now during in the transition period until January 1, 2021 when the same EU free movement rules apply?

  • Walking the street you hear all kinds of aberrations, the people are misinformed. If honest people want to work, why not? There is a bread here for everyone. But knowing our folks, some people come to mess around with phones, cars, videos, from all nations not only ours. Everyone hates immigrants because of them, but yes from my point of view, yes they should come, why not.

London Underground UK

ALIN , FROM DITRAU, 4 YEARS AND 8 MONTHS IN UK

-Are you going to stay in the UK?

  • No, I did not apply for settled status, my staying here is only a temporary step

-Now that the UK has officially left the EU, how do you feel as a Romanian towards Brexit? Is there any change for you here because of Brexit?

  • It’s their business, at the moment there is no change … although the English people, seems to spend less now. I see how shops and bars close all around me, my earnings seem to be smaller this month than 1 year ago as well.

-Do you think the UK citizens were right to vote to leave the EU? Will it be a better life for them and for us immigrants in the future?

  • It’s their business but I don’t think so. Those people who voted massively for Brexit are living very bad … just take a visit through those cities to convince yourself. I would not recommend to anyone to come here now.

ELENA COLLY ROSU, FROM BUCHAREST, 3 YEARS AND 6 MONTHS IN UK

-Are you going to stay in the UK? Have you applied for Settled Status?

  • I have no intention to stay. Not worth it, there are a thousand times better options if we refer to settling in another country. If you come just for the money , it’s probably ok.

-Can you elaborate a bit on why you don’t want to stay here or what you don’t like in the UK?

  • I do not like the weather in any way. I’m the kind of person who feels good at 40 degrees plus. I lived in Spain and I can’t wait to go back there. I applied for transfer at my company and now I wait for the approval. From the moment I arrived in the UK … I counted the days until I get out of here.

-I met here many Romanians who came from Spain to the UK because they could not find a job and raise enough money there. The weather is really beautiful there but overall would you say it’s better in Spain for us as Romanians?

  • I cannot speak for others, but being Latin, I would say yes. We are much closer to them than to the English people. First of all, the language is very easy for us to learn. The work issue is a problem for anyone who doesn’t know how to do anything. Most, like those who come to the UK, are young people who have finished high school or have not finished it at all. They come without any basic job skill and I think they will manage somehow. It was difficult for me as well. 11 years ago when I went to Spain, I finished Law university and the diploma was of absolutely no use to me, unless I do it again and learn the legislation of the respective country. Finally, for me there is no comparison between Spain and the UK.

-May I ask you, why did you come to the UK if you didn’t like it from the start and you knew you weren’t going to stay here?

  • Yes. I came to help my son finish his studies here. He attended primary school in Spain, here he goes to university. I came to help him financially until he can manage alone. Now it’s his last year, he is working part time, so I can go back. He does not intend to remain in UK after he finishes either , he also wants to return to Spain.

-Do you think UK citizens were right to vote to leave the EU? Will it be a better life for them and for us immigrants in the future?

  • They said it would be better for them, who am I to contradict them? If the EU doesn’t give them a hard time, they will probably recover.

-Would you recommend to other Romanians interested in coming to the UK to still come now during the transition period until January 1, 2021 when the same EU free movement rules apply?

  • Of course not. You barely arrive here and get kicked out. But I do recommend it to students.

DEXTER – FROM DOBROGEA, 6 MONTHS IN UK

-Are you going to stay in the UK? Have you applied for Settled Status?

  • I haven’t applied for Pre Settled yet. Settled I have no way to obtain for now anyway. Yes, I’m going to make a life here, at least for the moment, although I don’t see myself living here when I get old, after 50 -60 years.

-Now that the UK has officially left the EU, how do you feel as a Romanian towards Brexit? Do you feel any change here because of Brexit?

  • No, not for now, I cannot say that there is a difference compared to a few months ago and I do not expect one to appear, even after the transition period. There will probably be new rules that we will have to adhere to.

-If the UK economy goes down and the Pound goes down, do you think it’s going to be worth staying in the UK? What would you do in this case?

  • If the UK economy goes down and the pound goes down, although I don’t expect that to happen, or if it does goes down, I believe it won’t stay that way for long. For me personally because I came to make a life here and not just a quick penny, I will stay to see what happens. It also depends on how much it decreases. As an addition to the answer, surely for those who came to make a quick penny, it is obvious that if the pound goes down it will not be worth staying. For the rest who are determined to stay here with our families on the long term, it will not make much of a difference. I do not know if and how well the British did when they voted to leave the European Union, as I am a believer of the free movement of people, goods, services, etc.
  • Also I do not know how well the English will be after this exit … However, for us Romanians it will surely be a better life. For reasons that I will not list now, I suspect that in the next period there will be an increase in the demand for labor in many areas and for those who are already settled in the country, the employment opportunities will increase. We will be able to allow ourselves to choose what we like to work… ..more than that ,we have an EU Romanian passport so we can travel through Europe at our own free will.

-Many Romanians are afraid that they will be worse off, you are the first to tell me that it will be better for us.

  • I don’t know, I and everyone I have talked to at work, who have families here, as I do, will continue to see to their life plans. They are preparing to buy or have already bought their houses and making other investments. They are preparing or already applied for Settled Status for themselves and their children, they are calling their close relatives there, life goes on.
    And for those who run after money, they left Romania and went first to Spain and Italy. And after that, when it wasn’t good there anymore, they came to the UK. And now, if it is not going to be good here anymore, they will go somewhere else… probably Germany. And life will go on for them too.

-Would you recommend to other Romanians interested in coming to the UK to still come now during the transition period until January 1, 2021 when the same EU free movement rules apply?

  • Yes, I recommend to other Romanians interested in coming to the UK now, in the transition period because at the moment it is still quite simple. After this period we don’t know what the rules will be like and how hard it will be to come to work here.

NICOLETA, IN UK FOR 4 YEARS AND 5 MONTHS, MOVED TO SCOTLAND TWO YEARS AGO

-Are you going to stay in the UK? Have you applied for Settled Status?

  • I applied in September for Pre-Settled Status, and this year I will apply for Settled. I am staying, I’m waiting to see what happens to Scotland, if they will do their (independence) referendum and if it will pass.

-How is the situation there in Scotland since Brexit?

  • The shops are a bit empty and quite a lot of Scottish people have taken to begging on the street. Honestly, even on the Saturday after Brexit, Asda and Tesco were pretty empty. And that was in the morning, when you usually can not find a single empty spot to park your car. They may start to be more thoughtful with their money, as we say. However, prices have increased, and diesel has gone up as well.

-Do you think the UK citizens were right to vote to leave the EU? Will it be a better life for them and for us immigrants in the future?

  • My opinion is that there are much higher hidden interests at the highest level, and the people have been lied to. It was a mistake, many did not know what brexit meant when they voted.

-I’m glad I found someone from Scotland. I was really curious how it looks from there. What do the Scots think about this whole Brexit business?

  • I spoke with my boss, a Scottish woman and many want an independence referendum now. Last year I went to college to study English and my teachers did not agree to leave the EU.

-Would you recommend to other Romanians interested in coming to the UK to still come no during the transition period until January 1, 2021?

  • I would recommend it to Scotland yes.

ANDREI, FROM PETROSANI, IN UK FOR 3 YEARS AND 6 MONTHS

-Are you going to stay in the UK? Have you applied for Settled Status?

  • All future plans are linked to the UK at the moment, it all depends on how Brexit proceeds. I got Pre Settled status at the moment.

-Related to that, if the UK economy goes down and the pound falls due to Brexit, do you think it will be worth staying in the UK? What would you do in this case?

  • I would change my plans, currently waiting to see what the future holds. I noticed a fall in wages but not because of Brexit. Because of law 35 which dictates that you are not allowed as Self Employed to work for more than 12 weeks for the same company.

-Do you think the UK citizens were right to vote to leave the EU? Will it be a better life for them?

  • The next few years will be difficult but I believe it will recover.

-Do you believe or hope?

  • I believe!

-Would you recommend to other Romanians interested in coming to the UK to still come now during transition period until January 1, 2021?

  • No, Too much uncertainty

Hull Old Town UK Anglia

LAURA, DOBROGEA, A YEAR AND A HALF IN UK

-Are you going to stay in the UK? Have you applied for Settled Status?

  • I haven’t applied yet. It depends on what will happen, there is nothing nailed.

-If the UK economy goes down and the pound falls due to Brexit, do you think it will be worth staying in the UK? What would you do in this case?

  • It won’t be worth staying here.. if the pound drops a lot. If the decrease will be small, I think it would be worthwhile to stay.

-Do you think UK citizens were right to vote to leave the EU? Will it be a better life for them and for us?

  • I don’t think they thought it trough in detail when they took the decision, they focused on some issues that didn’t really didn’t bother them so much at the time they voted. For them I do not know how good it going be. We will see in the future, as for us, everything will depend and what agreement they will make with the EU.

-Would you recommend to other Romanians interested in coming to the UK to still come now during the transition period until January 1, 2021?

  • Yes .. as long as it will be a better life than what they have in Romania, why not. Try now while it’s still possible.

ANONYMOUSLY, IN UK IN 2018

-Have you applied for Settled Status?

  • Yes I applied, for pre-settled. I have since November 2018. Those who work in medicine have priority in enrollment. Anyone working in the medical system (or registered in the database) had the right to pre-register.

– Are you going to stay in the UK? Do you think it’s worth making a life here or is it just a temporary step for you?

  • The plan was to stay but until we see how the dust settles, it’s hard to say. It will depend a lot on the UK’s future relations with the rest of the world and obviously by the power of the Pound. Hopefully by time if takes the fall, I will have applied for citizenship and move to Australia or New Zealand.

-Do you think the UK citizens were right to vote to leave the EU? Will it be a better life for them and for us immigrants who live here in the future?

  • In this country it happened exactly as in Romania with the PSD (Socialist Democratic Party). The old people fell for the “tacking back our country” speech but there are so many of them here and the youth has no interest in politics. From my point of view, it was a big mistake. The British are lazy and do not like to work the way we do, Europeans. When I was working in the hospital I had only one Englishman as a security guard and he told me that all his friends are on benefits.

-Now that the UK has officially left the EU, how do you feel as a Romanian towards Brexit? Do you feel any change for you here because of Brexit?

  • No. And it will not be a major thing for anyone as long as you do not work illegally, steal or live on benefits.

– Would you still recommend to other Romanians interested in coming to the UK, to come now quickly until the end of the transition period?

  • It depends, if they are unqualified workers. Unfortunately the unskilled will be the most affected by the new labor regulations.

What do you think? Leave my opinion in the comments section or message me on the fb page and I will consider your thoughts for future articles. If you liked this article share it. See also the fb GarciaCalavera.ro page, which if you like the page you can give a like to subscribe to future articles.

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