31st March 2017
York College welcomed York MP Rachael Maskell when she visited two classes of ESOL (English for Speakers of Other Languages) students who were wanting to know more about the government’s plans for Brexit.
Skills for Life tutor Helen Wilson said: “We were grateful Rachael Maskell found the time to speak with our ESOL students. The majority of the students are EU nationals who have settled in the UK, some with their families. But they also come from a variety of backgrounds, and naturally they are anxious about Brexit and what it will mean for them. Whilst they are doing really well in learning English as their second language, often it is difficult to determine what is going on in the media, and rumours don’t help, so we thought meeting Rachael would enable them to understand what Brexit might mean for them and their families.”
ESOL student Silvana, aged 43, came to the UK from Italy last summer with her husband and three daughters. She says: “Social media messages about Brexit fill me with panic. My husband has a job here and I am worried about how Brexit will affect our family life.”
Whereas Spanish student Tatiana, aged 28, who has dual citizenship says: “I have two degrees and I think employers are wary about employing me because of Brexit.”
Rachael Maskell listened to the students’ concerns and gained an insight into their individual circumstances. During her visit she also met with College Principal Dr Alison Birkinshaw who said: ‘York College has a good number of international students, both from Europe and further afield. We think that this is really positive and it helps our home students to broaden their outlook and, in some cases, improve their own language skills. Brexit has brought uncertainty and we want to make sure we are doing everything we can to help all our students understand the implications of Brexit and what it might mean for them, now and in the future. So we are grateful to Rachael for taking the time to talk with our students so that she can understand their concerns and represent these in parliamentary debates.”
Rachael Maskell MP for York said: “I am disappointed the government is making EU citizens’ rights form part of the negotiations with the EU. This is putting people’s futures on the negotiating table and causing a lot of unnecessary worry. It is important people get confirmation of their right to remain in the UK as soon as possible and I will be pressing the government to make this one of their immediate priorities. It should have been sorted before we triggered Article 50.
“I am saddened by the number of EU citizens who have told me they feel unwanted in the UK and are worried about their future. This is turning the UK into an inward-looking nation. I will do all I can to support EU citizens in York and across the EU, and if people, living in my constituency, have concerns I would ask them to contact me.”