Overseas staff must not be used as “negotiating chip” in Brexit negotiations, Rogers, Chipperfield and Levete warn
A number of high-profile architects have told the government they are “appalled” at the way EU staff in their offices are being kept in the dark about their status following last year’s Brexit vote.
Signatories to the open letter, which is published in today’s Guardian newspaper, include Richard Rogers (pictured), Amanda Levete, Will Alsop, Eric Parry and Farshid Moussavi.
The letter asks that Theresa May gives immediate clarity on their future and warns against the prime minister using EU nationals working and living in the UK as a “negotiating chip” in upcoming Brexit negotiations.
It adds: “This is not the behaviour of a civilised society, and certainly runs counter to the respected British traditions of decency and fairness.
“We have no doubt whatsoever that the people of this country would not accept the eviction of EU nationals and we therefore see no reason why this unusable threat should remain on the table.”
The letter warns that Brexit “will have deeply negative consequences by severely limiting the transfer of information, ideas and influence, as well as restricting common programmes of education and research”.
Other signatories include Michael and Patty Hopkins, David Chipperfield and Peter Cook.
The architectural profession, as well as the wider body of creative and cultural industries, are extremely concerned about the impact of the decision to leave the EU. Regardless of the inevitable commercial damage, most of us believe this will have deeply negative consequences by severely limiting the transfer of information, ideas and influence, as well as restricting common programmes of education and research.
While we are fearful about the future in general, we are particularly concerned about the government’s attitude towards EU nationals. We have benefited enormously from the transfer of knowledge and influence that results from EU nationals working in the UK. Furthermore, we have benefited from our ability as individuals and as companies to trade services and knowledge with our European neighbours, creating a better understanding between peoples.
Within this context, 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. This is not the behaviour of a civilised society, and runs counter to the British traditions of decency and fairness. We have no doubt whatsoever that the people of this country would not accept the eviction of EU nationals and see no reason why this unusable threat should remain on the table.
We ask that the government immediately clarifies this situation, otherwise we will not only lose our place in Europe but lose our dignity in the process.
Peter St John