Brexit: Hungarian students and employees are worried
Origo.hu writes that the possible negative effects of Brexit have been talked about in Europe for a while, but as people of the United Kingdom voted to leave the European Union on Friday, the exit became a reality. Thus, the new situation worries the Hungarians who work or study – or plan to study – there, as well.
Ever since Brexit was voted by the majority of people in the UK on Friday, questions and worries about the future started to emerge rapidly. As Hungarian people also live there, the results of the EU Referendum clearly affects them as well.
While the UK is still part of the EU – until the leaving process starts and finishes thereafter – every citizen of the EU who decides to study there has to face the very same educational and financial conditions as the British citizens. Which means that they have to pay just as much tuition fee as the British, they can apply and receive student loans under the same beneficial conditions.
Furthermore, just like the locals, EU citizens do not have to pay for health insurance, and entry or residing permissions and visas are not required either. Currently, there are 125 thousand non-British EU citizens who study at the colleges or universities in the UK, making up approximately 5% of all students. Of them, about 2000 students are Hungarians participating in a Bachelor programme.
Interestingly, as leaving the EU is unprecedented just now, not many things are sure about Brexit; not even the process of leaving the Union is known. Yet, it seems certain that the preparing process will last for about two years, during which time the UK is to obey to all valid EU rules and agreements. Hence, the changes caused by Brexit do not affect those students – whether British or EU citizens – who have already begun or about to start their studies in the UK within the next two years.
Moreover, it is presupposed that Hungarian students who would do their final exams in 2017 and 2018, will be able to study in UK under the current conditions, if, of course, their application is successful. However complex the preparation of the leaving process is, it is likely that the conditions would be the same even after 2018.
However, there is a worst case scenario, too, by which every student from the EU would be subject to the same conditions as the citizens of other countries, outside the EU, after Britain leaving the Union. In that case, the average tuition fee would cost 9000 GBP, which amount is about the double of the current one; and EU citizens will stop being able to receive the British student loans, and become obliged to pay health insurance.
But, as mentioned before, members of the labour market are uncertain about the effects of Brexit, too, and Origo managed to contact a few Hungarians who work in the UK. One of them is Gábor, a 30-year old Hungarian engineer working in London. He told the site that, at his workplace, everyone is nervously guessing about the next PM, and how probable it seems now that Donald Trump could be chosen President of the United States later this year.
He further mentioned that they have wondered about relating the right to vote to the intelligence level; or about the possibility of London staying in the EU while the rest may freely leave it. Or at least their office could stay in the EU. Besides, they feel their money endangered, especially, because the pound sterling had already plunged.
Another Hungarian in London is Dániel, a 26-year old information technologist, who told Origo that, at a moment everyone around him was an immigrant, trying to find out what would happen to them. One of them was joking about flying back home that night, while another EU citizen was rooting for Brexit, for then, as the prices of properties start to decrease, they would be finally able to purchase one. But Dániel said that the situation mainly resembles to an apocalypse, and those who were planning to have children are especially nervous.
At his workplace, though, the programmers did not feel that much panic, whereas the customer service and the directorate – regardless of being British or EU citizen – were rather shocked. And the third one asked by Origo was Zsófia, a 34-year old employee in the catering sector. She has been mainly worried because of the crash of the pound.
As she primarily moved to the UK to save some money for worldly goods, she is scared now that the money which she has been working for would value much less. And as the pound’s value decreases, it will take more and more time for her to reach her goals. However, she still does not think that the situation in Hungary would be any better.
Copy editor: bm