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Listening to non-UK nationals on the future of immigration

Listening to non-UK nationals on the future of immigration

16 August 2018

With all of the uncertainty around what the UK’s final Brexit deal will look like, one thing does seem almost certain – the government’s intention to end the free movement of people from the EU in December 2020 and replace it with a new immigration system. The Home Office will be publishing its plans before the end of the year – and RIBA is working tirelessly to press government to safeguard the access to international talent that has made British architecture a global success story.

Over the summer we have held focus groups across the country with non-UK nationals, from the EU and the rest of the world, working in UK architecture to learn more about their experiences working in the UK, and this month we are encouraging architects from the EU and the rest of the world to complete a short survey to share their views and experiences with us.

Your feedback will give us vital insight into the challenges and opportunities that architects face when coming to live and work in the UK and help us to keep making the case for a new immigration system that continues to support the best and brightest architectural talent in the world to build their careers in Britain.

Attendees at our focus groups have been clear that, while the government intends to guarantee their rights to live and work in the country through its new ‘settled status’ scheme, ensuring that the UK continues to be a magnet for the best talent from around the world – and continues to be an open, welcoming place – is vital for the continued success of our profession after Brexit.

As one architect explained, “for every project, having different cultures within a design team is always beneficial. This is true in many disciplines but it’s especially true in the creative industries. This is a plus for the UK, having an office where people come from a variety of different countries and have a variety of different educations. All of this together makes good projects and that’s what you have now in large offices.”

“If there is going to be a negative environment,” another said, “that will make people less keen to come to the UK, so I’d be concerned about the ability to recruit the right people.”

“I worry about whether we’d be able to find work if we had to have a visa (like the current system for non-EU nationals)”, warned one architect. “Do you think employers would have up to 50% of their staff being European as they do now? You already see in practice how few non-EU citizens there are compared to Europeans.”

RIBA has called for an immigration system which recognises the enormous contribution that international architects have made to our profession and our country – one which continues to recognise international qualifications from the EU, recognises the diverse range of skills and experiences that skilled professionals bring to their practices and which makes it easy and inexpensive for people to come to the UK to work.

We’re committed to making sure the voices of non-UK nationals in the profession are heard in the Brexit debate, and that the experiences of architects from the rest of the EU and the rest of the world are reflected in the government’s plans for the new immigration system. In order to help us represent you, please give us just five minutes of your time to take the survey and share your experiences with us, before 31 August.

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