In an open letter addressed to The Guardian newspaper, 20 leading British architects have called for the government to immediately address the future of EU nationals working the UK following the country’s withdrawal from the European Union.
The letter, titled EU nationals must not be used as a Brexit negotiating chip, has also been signed by John Pawson, Michael and Patty Hopkins, Amanda Levete, Ron Arad, Will Alsop and Eric Parry.
“We are appalled that the government should use those who have made considerable personal and professional commitments to this country, and who enrich our culture, as a negotiating chip,” it reads.
“This is not the behaviour of a civilised society, and runs counter to the British traditions of decency and fairness.”
The government claims the rights of EU nationals to live and work in the UK will remain unchanged until Britain has fully withdrawn from the European Union – a process expected to take somewhere in the region of three years. But there have been no guarantees put in place to protect the rights of EU nationals working the UK following Britain’s exit.
Almost half of all architects working in London come from overseas, according to a survey conducted for Dezeen. The results found that 33 per cent of architects in the capital’s firms come from the European Union, the European Economic Area or Switzerland, and a further 12 per cent come from other countries – highlighting the industry’s reliance on foreign workers.
Read the full letter:
While some British architects and designers – namely James Dyson – have been optimistic about the prosperity of the industry following Brexit, the general response from the profession has been overwhelmingly negative.
The Royal Institute of British Architects (RIBA) revealed that 40 per cent of European architects are considering leaving the UK following Brexit in a member survey earlier this year.
Dezeen drew up the Brexit Design Manifesto in response to Britain’s decision to leave the European Union following a referendum in June 2016.
The manifesto is a message to the government about the importance of the design and architecture sector to the UK and outlines what it must do to support the industry after Brexit. Rogers, Pawson and Levete are among the backers of the manifesto.
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