My name is Harry Sampson and I’m your Student Union President. Today I’ll be talking about something we’ve heard a lot about lately – Brexit, the process for the United Kingdom to leave the European Union.
Today, Prime Minister Theresa May signed a letter to trigger Article 50 of the Lisbon Treaty. This letter, once delivered to the European Council President, formally begins the two-year process to separate from the EU. During this time the UK Government will be trying to secure a deal (details of which we aren’t sure of yet) on the future of UK-EU relations.
It is the intention of the UK Government to pass a ‘Great Repeal Bill’ during this process. Details of this will be appearing later, and it will be put under severe Parliamentary scrutiny, so we’ll be putting up information around that as it goes through the legislative process. Chances are you’ll hear a lot of information coming from the national tabloids – never take these at face value.
Britain is, at its heart, a welcoming and warm (emotionally, not literally – it’s always raining here!) place. Everyone who comes to this country to learn should be made to feel at ease. During Brexit your Student Union will be doing it’s utmost to keep International Students updated on the developments and what we are doing to assist wherever possible.
The first priority during the negotiations will probably be around trade, security and sovereignty. After the atmosphere of the referendum, it is very likely immigration will also be on the table.
I fully support the efforts (by the House of Lords, some NUS national candidates and more) to remove international students from the official immigration figures. International students already generate £26 Billion for the UK Economy and support 200,000 jobs, as well as enriching our own culture. I can only hope that the government sees sense and adopts these changes.
In the meantime, it is important that International Students (indeed, all students) know that Winchester Student Union and the University of Winchester is here for you.
Igor Ahmedov, your International Students Officer, had this to say:
“Being an EU student myself and knowing your next International Officer is also from a similar background, European students – as well as all internationals – are at the heart of what we do. If you have any questions or concerns please come and speak to me or any other SU officer and we’ll do the best we can to support you.”
On my own part, I can only quote our Prime Minister and nod in agreement:
“For, as we face the opportunities ahead of us on this momentous journey, our shared values, interests and ambitions can – and must – bring us together.’
Words, I hope, will come true. Similar to how our Union is only as strong as the willingness of students to work alongside one another, only together can a satisfactory outcome for all be achieved.
‘At the Heart of the Student Experience’ is where we aim to be. We will continue to support your education and fight for your interests not only while these negotiations are ongoing, but forever after as well.