Despite what Theresa May says, the facts don’t lie. EU immigration has been hugely beneificial to the UK. Research from University College London shows, European migrants pay in more in taxes than they take out in state benefits. That contribution – valued at £2bn a year – is helped fuel Britain’s economic growth over the last decade. What’s more, in 2016, 60% of new migrants from western and southern Europe, who account for 900,000 of the 2 million who work here, were university graduates. For eastern Europeans, 25% are graduates – similar to the proportion in the UK-born workforce. Until the Brexit vote, Britain attracted the highest number of university-educated migrants of any country in the EU year after year to work in the financial, technology and media industries. One of those is Arek Widawski, a Polish Managing Director, who was invited to the UK by his London-based company six months ago. Shocked by Theresa’s May’s recent accusation that EU workers had jumped an imaginary queue, he posted a response in Facebook community The Very Brexit Problems Club. His heartfelt and powerful response to May’s disgusting misinformation is something every Leaver should read. Here it is in full
My name is Arek and I am Polish. I am not even sure if I am allowed to publish in this group so please delete my post if I am not.
I have so far spent 6 months in the UK because I was asked by a London-based company to become an interim MD for 9 months until my successor is appointed. I have been helping the UK company grow. The decision about my appointment was not made based on my nationality, but I believe on my skills. I did not realize I was jumping in front of any queue. And it was a Polish taxpayer who financed my education which the UK can now benefit from.
I have spent 10 years learning English and getting to know your culture and have always wanted to see your great inheritance in person. I have been very excited about my interim appointment as I have always perceived the UK as a dreamland (which I could only see in pictures in my textbooks at school) where everyone respects other people. And without a doubt it is a great country but somehow some people lost their trust in real values.
I did not imagine I would be called names only because I was supporting English football team in an English pub but not being English myself. I did not take anybody’s job, but responded to real needs of your economy. I do not feel that my fellow Polish workers who do housekeeping in the hotel I am staying at contribute less to the wealth of your country. They are humble and diligent workers who wanted their dreams come true, not to feel a burden to the society.
I am almost 40 now and do remember what poverty means. I do remember going to Germany, queueing in long lines and being asked questions where I was going to stay, for how long and why. I feel that the freedom of travel/movement is something taken for granted in Western Europe, but for me it is one of the biggest achievements of a mankind. After pointless wars over dominance we finally come together as Europeans. All equal with so much bigger power to negotiate the best trading deals as a bloc. Is this not something our grandparents always dreamt of?
I cannot believe when I see how a glorious nation of Britain is bleeding out over pointless disputes. Why can’t we just appreciate what we have all achieved – no wars in Europe for a full generation! Yes, the EU is not ideal. So isn’t anything in this world. But I feel that the values that the EU brings is something much more than bureaucracy.
Whatever happens I will always love you and admire. Please however do not make us feel like unwanted foreigners who come here to take advantage of you, but treat us like a family member. If not loved, at least not unwanted. There is always an uncle you do not love in each family, but you will always know that he is always there for you when you need him and you will never say he is not a member of your family.
Polish people came to the UK because they were invited and needed by your economy and free movement does not mean uncontrolled immigration. A person cannot stay in another member state for more than 3 months without finding a job or without demonstrating he/she has enough funds to do so. Otherwise can be asked to leave under current regulations. You do not need to leave the EU to receive this right. It is already there.
Thank you for all your support and kindness which I am experiencing every day whilst my stay. I am going back home just before Brexit is due as my mission is almost complete. I would love to visit my English colleagues again and have a pint together in an English pub. Am I going to be having to prove the purpose of my visit after March? Am I going to have to apply for a visa? Am I going to be made felt unwelcome by more bureaucracy?
Come over to Poland for a weekend or for holiday and explore Europe you may not know yet. I am sure you will enjoy and you will experience by yourself how much you all mean to us. Is it not about the money, but about so much more than that.