Should I stay or should I go?
I decided, I’m going to travel for at least 6-7 months in Asia. I’ll be working remotely as freelancer from exotic locations. If things work out I can even stay longer, like a year or who knows. I want to be free. Why not? After all the only things I need are my laptop and an internet connection. I found someone renting my room for the months I’ll be away. I sorted things with my work and I even made it look not so “drastic” to my parents. I’ve nothing to lose…or at least, that’s what I thought.
It was all looking perfect in the moment I hear on the news that Theresa May has a “fair and serious” offer for the EU nationals living in the UK.
Fair and serious, strong and stable, enough is enough. Classic two hateful words of May’s rhetoric…
Anyway, I went on listening to what she was saying and, in brief, she offered that:
EU nationals can apply for an ID which would give them the status of the “indefinite leave to remain” (ILR), after having spent a period of 5 continuous years lawfully in the UK.
It almost sounded alright, but the word continuous worried me from the first second I’ve heard it. That word brought me back to reality. I suddenly felt taken by giant toy claw machine hand and thrown from a beach to a window-less office where neon lights are always on – like if you were a plant in a hydroponic greenhouse.
For a week I’ve been asking around, trying to understand how to count this continuity and how it would be broken. Now I probably have a definition for it: you cannot leave the country for more than 180 days for 12 consecutive months. This is simplified by many saying that it’s 6 months per year, but actually it’s not that easy, or better not that advantageous.
Basically, you would have to count always 180 days within 12 months cycles.
I created a little table to understand it better. I listed all the days I’ve been away from the UK in the past 3 years and the days that I would be away travelling.
Given that in the past months I’ve already travelled a bit and I’m leaving on August 7th, in November I would be already reaching the 180 days limit…f***
An easy solution could be to come back before the end of the November.
In that case I would stay the within my 180 days limit. Although, on the downside I would be stuck in the UK for the following months. This means that if I want to go travelling for a longer period, I could do it only in two years time, when I’ll be able to apply for this ILR – so far I’ve been lawfully in the UK for 3 continuous years.
Now this 2 years period might sound like a short time, but many things could happen in two years: maybe I will get a good job which I don’t want to leave, maybe I’ll find a girlfriend, maybe I will feel too old to be in hostels with people in their early twenties getting drunk every night, or maybe I just won’t want to travel anymore and rather spend my money against a mortgage for a house, as I will be tired to live in a flat share…
So I’ve the feeling that this is now or never.
On the other hand, I’m also wondering, why to bother at all? This country won’t probably be same after Brexit, maybe I’ll just want to leave anyway. After all, it was only a year ago when, angry and disappointed by the result of the Brexit referendum, I was suggesting to all EU nationals in the UK to leave the country, as the country had betrayed us. Well, this anger and disappointment for me it’s still there. Part of me hates every single Brexiteer and tells me that I shouldn’t bother and I shouldn’t be supporting this country consuming and paying taxes here.
However, there is another (more rational) part of me telling me that Brexiteers are everywhere in the world. Ignorant, close-minded people with simple ideologies are indeed in every country and my life shouldn’t be dictated by such people.
This part of me is also saying that London is the city where I’ve lived the longest after my hometown. Here I have a lot of good friends, many working contacts, a lot of things that I still want to do.
The UK is the most organised country where I’ve ever been. It’s a place which I would happily call home, more than my homeland Italy – country I’ve always had a difficult relationship with, which is just deteriorating in the years.
English has been the main language I used for the past 7 years and definitely my favourite.
British people, some of my best friends are Britons and overall I really like this population. I like their attitude, wit, criticism and the black humour. Then of course London is much more than just British people…
Furthermore, I feel that starting again from scratch somewhere else it’s just tiring. I’ve done it in Rome, then in Lisbon, then again in Prague and finally in London.
To make clear that the settling process has always been very exciting and it always brought me to know a lot of people, which are now forming my international friends’ network (if you’ve read this post till this point you’re probably one of them). However, I feel tired to do it again, to restart in a new country and in a new city (I’m thinking about Barcelona or Berlin), to learn a new language, to start with the bureaucracy, find accommodation, move all my stuff again, find new working contacts…
So my doubt is: is it worth to throw everything away for the sake of few months travelling?
I mean, obviously this is not the end of the end of the world, but just a big decision.
In the end if I come back before the official cut-off date I could still start again to build up my 5 years (I would have lost “only” 3 and a half years at this point) or anyway I would probably be able to get a visa or whatever is needed. But would I do that? Probably not…
Any suggestion, recommendation or information regarding that 5 years continuous residency is very welcome.
Just to specify while travelling:
- I would continue to work as freelancer remotely, registered in the UK and so paying my taxes to the HMRC.
- I would be on the payroll of a British company for 2 days per week.
- I would be subletting my room keeping my address and contract with my landlord in the UK