Mary Philburn’s parents did not speak English and had no degree when they arrived in Britain in the 1950s.
Her mother, who is Italian, had answered calls from workers at Yorkshire factories while her Ukrainian father – a “displaced person“After the war – was under the European Volunteer Workers Program and engaged in agriculture.
“They worked very hard poorly paid jobs“Mary told HuffPost UK.” They became valuable members of our very English neighborhood and used to help elderly people with chores, especially those who had no children.
“Our English neighbor next door became part of our family after being widowed and spending Friday evenings and some Christmas days with us.
“When the neighbor next to us had cancer and became very ill, we took care of her. The mother sat with her trying to encourage her to eat.
“All this is what we did as neighbors and friends for free. Now these are things that would be worthless. The neighbors themselves admitted that they were afraid we would move.
“You can’t get points for things like this.”
Freedom of movement with the European Union ended on 31 December 2020. EU citizens now need a visa in advance if they want to work here and employers need sponsor license to hire people from other countries.
But with minimum wage thresholds and the requirement that people already speak English and meet certain skill levels, many like Maria’s parents would probably have been excluded.
Frederika Roberts has German and Italian heritage and has always appreciated the value of different cultures.
He grew up in Luxembourg, but eventually came to the UK in 1990 for college, an opportunity he did not have at home. “I spoke many languages and had the chance in Europe,” he told HuffPost UK. “I chose the UK because it had a great reputation for its universities.”
He studied business and management at University of Bradford and had initially planned to return to Luxembourg or go to Italy after graduating. But in her first year of college, she met her husband Simon and admits to “falling in love with him and Yorkshire” and making the UK her home.
“It is likely that I would not have been able to stay in the UK if they had had this points base [system] then, because I didn’t have a job immediately after I graduated, ”he said.
“I would not have accumulated many points depending on what they are looking for now. Even after finishing my teaching career, it took me a few months to get a job and I didn’t work as a teacher until a few years later.
“I do not think I could have stayed. I don’t know what this would have done to my relationship and Simon’s. “
In addition to working as a teacher, Frederika, now 49 and living in Doncaster, spent many years in hiring and co-owned a hiring business.
She is a speaker, lecturer, trainer and author who does wellness tasks in schools.
“I think I’ve contributed quite a bit to society,” he said. “It’s really terrible that we are reduced to this kind of argument and forced to prove that we are “good immigrant” and the notion that we are only as good as our economic value. “
Frederika argues this British society would be completely different and much poorer in relationships, culture and experience without immigration.
“There are so many families, communities and relationships that would not exist without immigration,” he said. “British food without immigration would be pretty bad. From going out on a curry to having a pizza, the food we have is phenomenal, and that’s only due to immigration. ”
Frederika and Simon have two daughters: Charlie, 23, and Hannah, 21. Charlie graduated with two honorary degrees in Middle Eastern studies and politics and now works for a deputy who helps voters. Hannah is in her third year of medicine with European studies and is recovering long Covid.
If Frederika had not stayed in Britain, not only would society have lost her contribution, but she would have lost her daughters ’skills.
“I find it very annoying that this country where I have lived and loved for so long is so insular and narrow-minded,” he said.
“Everything that is said about low skills and low-paid labor is incorrect. The low-skilled and the poorly paid are not the healthy onething of me. Healthcare workers, nurses and physiotherapists are not low-skilled jobs, but are below the income threshold. These roles will not be filled with magic if people who may now not meet the threshold do not arrive.”
He added: “I feel completely rejected by this country. If I didn’t have my family here, I would be out as a shot even though I love it here.”
Joan Pons Laplana has won numerous awards for her nursing, with the most prestigious name Nurse of the Year in 2018 by the British Journal of Nurses.
He arrived in the United Kingdom from Spain in November 2000, in the middle of the year recruitment crisis for the profession.
He says he was made to feel very welcome and that he loved England deeply at first.
But John, 46, who lives in Chesterfield, north Derbyshire, said: “With austerity and the economic crisis, many people began to blame immigrants and accuse them of stealing jobs from British nurses.
“There are 43,000 nursing places in the UK right now. England has never been able to create as many nurses as they needed and that’s how it is. why they had to get them from other countries“.
Nursing jobs in Spain were hard to find and, after three years of temporary work, completed with the delivery of pizzas, he saw an ad asking nurses to travel to Britain. It was an easy decision to leave.
“When I was growing up, I had always admired English culture and I loved TV shows like Blackadder and Fawlty Towers,” he said. “I also saw it as a very open country where all kinds of cultures could coexist.”
Joan began working as an intensive care nurse in Sheffield. He had only planned to stay a year or two, but fell in love, married, and had three children.
She still works at Sheffield Teaching Hospital and is now a head nurse in the digital department.
But he says if the new immigration rules had been set 21 years ago, he would have gone elsewhere.
“After 22 years of living here, I think I need to justify my existence in this country, even though I have come to help cover the nursing shortage,” he said.
In addition, says Joan, the nursing crisis has not gone away.
“It is becoming increasingly difficult to ensure patient safety because of all the nursing places that are not covered,” he said. “My passion is to provide the best possible care to patients, but my mental health is suffering because it is much more difficult to do so.
“We need more nurses and these new immigration rules won’t help. I still love England, but Brexit and the government have created a platform that allows people to express their racism openly.
“It simply came to our notice then propaganda that migration is bad for the country. Migrants are not the cause of the problems and the idea that immigrants come here to do nothing is not true. “
Joan worked in intensive care during the two waves of the virus, in addition to participating in one vaccine trial.
He says the new immigration rules mean the NHS has more or less “abandoned” hiring in Europe, instead of resorting to it. the Philippines, India and Commonwealth countries.
“The problem is that each nurse in one of these countries costs about £ 10,000, but a nurse coming from Europe was free,” she said. “It simply came to our notice then. This money could be spent on so many other things needed in the NHS.
“While they have relaxed immigration rules, things are still more difficult than before when we were in Europe.”
A Home Office spokesman repeated the language of the Brexit campaign at HuffPost UK: “The British people voted to regain control of our borders and end free movement, this is exactly what this has delivered. government.
“As the UK withdraws from the pandemic, employers need to prioritize training and investment in our domestic workforce, rather than relying on international labor.
“However, in roles where specialized or additional skills are required, our points-based immigration system allows employers to attract the best and brightest talent from around the world, depending on what they have to offer.”
Meanwhile, Maria Philburn – who would probably never have been born in the UK if the new immigration rules had been applied during the 1950s – worked for many years in banking and continues to work full time.
She now has two older children.
Of the unfathomable contribution of immigrants to Britain during the pandemic, he added: “The coronavirus highlighted how things would have been if we had not allowed these workers from other countries.
“But everything suffers from its insignificance and is not appreciated. It’s heards like the the government thinks immigrants are only okay when they need people“.