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UEL students and staff welcome Mayor of London Sadiq Khan at #LondonisOpen event

London Mayor visits  UEL's Stratford Campus to launch his mobile immigration advice roadshow

The Mayor of London, Sadiq Khan, visited the University of East London’s (UEL) Stratford Campus as one of the first stops on his newly launched mobile immigration advice roadshow, aimed at EU Londoners and their families.

The Mayor, marking the original ‘Brexit Day’, was welcomed on 29 March by UEL’s Pro Vice-Chancellor (impact and innovation), Professor Verity Brown, and students and staff. It was part of a four-day red bus tour of the capital, during which City Hall provided advice and guidance to European nationals who wish to remain in London post-Brexit.

Professor Amanda Broderick, Vice-Chancellor and President of the University of East London said, “Diversity is a core value at the University of East London and also one of our significant strengths. Our students come from a myriad of backgrounds, with over 140 different nationalities represented, and we are committed to strengthening the diversity of the talent pipeline for the 4.0 economy.

“Our European students, staff, neighbours and business associates are an integral part of the University of East London community, and we are proud to partner with London Mayor Sadiq Khan and City Hall to offer free legal advice and guidance to EU nationals at our Stratford Campus. The University of East London is open to everyone.”

UEL staff and students, many from European countries, had a chance to meet the Mayor of London and voice concerns they had regarding uncertainty about their place in the UK after Brexit.

Press from around the world attended to film, photograph and record the event, including German television, Agence France-Presse, La Repubblica from Italy, media from Poland, as well as the BBC-who interviewed Professor Brown- plus LBC and local press.

Biomedical science student Alexandra Letunovska, 22, from Latvia, told the Mayor, “I am concerned about working for the NHS after my studies and whether I can stay on to do a masters. I love my course at UEL and am hoping to work in a hospital in England as a bio-medical scientist.”

Annabelle Legal, 19, a French citizen studying physiotherapy in her final year, also expressed concerns about being able to stay in the country to work as a physiotherapist.

Professor Verity Brown said, “This is a vital occasion and the Mayor is providing an important role in reminding everybody that they do belong here. To help our students and staff, as well as people from the local community, UEL runs a law clinic every Tuesday to offer support and legal advice to people who are concerned about their situation.”

Vanessa Varvas, Acting Chief Marketing Officer, a Finnish/Canadian citizen who has been in the UK for 15 years, said, “I was able to thank the Mayor for his strong supportive and welcoming statements during a time where many EU citizens felt vulnerable. At UEL we have 1,783 EU students on campus and in distance learning and 183 EU staff, so how we communicate their contribution to our community is very important.”

The Mayor of London, Sadiq Khan said, “The change to the rights of EU nationals is by far the biggest alteration in immigration status for a generation. I am concerned that it has caused a great deal of anxiety and uncertainty for the more than one million EU citizens who have made London their home, and for their families and friends.

“Our London Is Open campaign aims to show the world that, despite Brexit, London is united and open and that EU Londoners still belong here.”

The mobile advice bus visited locations in areas of the capital with high numbers of European nationals, and coincides with the official opening of the Government’s EU Settlement Scheme. This is the process that EU citizens and their families will need to apply for if they wish to remain in the UK after it leaves the EU.