For all the Dutch people and others who didn’t believe me, about border control etc in the UK

One woman and her partner started a new business a few years ago, as nomads, and decided to set up in the UK but not work within the UK. (They asked me if I could help them.) I wondered if setting up in the UK was wise. They’re not British and I told them that there was no guarantee that they would be allowed into the UK, post-Brexit. They said I was too negative.

But pre-Brexit, UK Customs was not too happy with me either.

(Note that digital nomads sometimes have trouble getting into the US, too, even if all they want to do is travel from Alaska to Punta Arenas in Chile or collect a vehicle and have it shipped to the UK.)

Next, they tried to open a bank account for their business here in the UK and months later, they were still accepting excuse after excuse as to why their account had not been opened yet. Mine was opened the same day, each time, but the first time, I had the introduction of an English accountant in Southampton. The second time, I went to the same bank. In addition, I am based here.

I told them that “the absence of yes times time equals no” and that this is how English people often communicate. They listened and opened a PayPal business account instead of a classic business bank account.

Over here, you are supposed to deduce what they refuse to tell you. Almost all the time! In my home country, there is a strong reluctance to accept that English people communicate very differently. (It often remains a problem for many who have made their lives here too. Less so for people from countries that used to be under British rule and often still have an English school system.)

(There is not that same hesitation when people are being told to go back to where they came from, etc, though the pointed “where are you from” can also convey a whole world of messages, in addition to genuine interest within the context of Brexit. Brexit caused many Brits to ask foreigners where they were from, but that was not necessarily meant negatively, though there was a marked rise in expressions of hate, even sometimes by parents addressing other parents’ kids when they picked up their own youngsters from school.)

Update about EU citizens who are based in the UK:

“Following our urgent legal challenge, the Home Office has withdrawn its Covid-19 EUSS Guidance. This is a huge victory for @the3million+ European citizens living in the UK! #SettledStatus#CitizensRights#COVID19

Flag of United Kingdom
Flag of European Union

On 5 March, they had tweeted the following:

“The Home Office has issued harsh new guidance that might mean many EU citizens in the UK lose their right to live here. We’re taking legal action to put this rigBut we need your help! Can you support us? Here’s what’s at stake…

What it was about was that for example UK-based EU citizens who ended up abroad because of Covid, trying to keep everyone safe, might lose their right to live in the UK.

Here is an example (from :

“Rosa* is a Spanish national who moved to the UK in 2016. Her partner is British and she has made her life here. In July 2020, Rosa travelled back to Spain after finding out that her father had been diagnosed with cancer. He needed chemotherapy every two weeks. To receive his treatment, he needed to make trips to the hospital. In between appointments, he was not permitted to leave the house. Rosa drove her father to the hospital and back for his fortnightly chemotherapy and other than doing the occasional food shop (where she would wear gloves, a face mask and a visor) she also did not leave the house.

 Under the Home Office guidance, Rosa does not have an ‘important’ reason for her extended absence and this will impact her immigration status. Surely avoiding travel to protect a parent with cancer from being exposed to COVID-19 is an important reason?”

I had heard about this case. Instead of travelling back and forth a lot between Spain and the UK, she decided to stay in Spain so that she could support her dad without exposing him to the Covid risk. And the Home Office threatened to make her an illegal migrant in the UK.

There have previously been too many cases in which other foreign academics lost their legal status or were threatened with the loss of their immigration status because they were often abroad, for example to conduct fieldwork. Think of for example archaeologists or anthropologists.

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