1,000 sign petition to protect residency rights of EU nationals working in the UK's universities

More than 1,000 people have already signed an international petition created by De Montfort University Leicester (DMU) to protect the rights of EU nationals at UK universities.

 The petition went online at change.org late on Wednesday night and by Friday afternoon had passed the milestone.

love international main

It is part of DMU’s #loveinternational campaign which was launched this week by Vice-Chancellor Professor Dominic Shellard to celebrate and reassure staff living and working at universities around Britain following the vote to leave the EU.

On Thursday, Prof Shellard delivered a letter arguing for the protection of residency rights to the Prime Minister’s office at 10 Downing Street.

Currently, EU staff have the freedom to live, travel and work in the UK because it is part of the European Union. However, the UK's vote to leave the EU potentially puts this in jeopardy and leaves those EU-born staff uncertain over their future status.

The petition, which asserts the fact that 'universities have a vital role to play in helping to rebuild this country', has struck a nerve with many university staff and students. It calls for the Government and Conservative leadership candidates to ensure that EU staff can continue to work here in the long term.

Comments  by those who have signed the petition included: “UK universities need international staff to continue world-class research and teaching,” written by John Gull of Leicester.

Rick Greenough, of DMU’s Institute for Energy and Sustainable Development, wrote: “Our colleagues from the EU are far too valuable as employees and friends to risk forcing or encouraging them to leave the UK.”

“Universities and research is, at heart, an international activity, and the contributions of EU staff are part of this broader culture, so it is essential to make people in this position feel confident,” added David Everitt, of Leicester.

Jennie Jordan wrote: “These are my valued colleagues and friends and they are anxious about their futures. It's bad for them and all of us.”
There are more than 300 international staff working across DMU, of whom 120 are from the EU.

Posted on Saturday 2nd July 2016

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