Over four million passengers fly from London City Airport to Europe each year, making for destinations that include Ibiza, Berlin and Amsterdam; and so far they have not needed visas. As someone who has to get a visa every time I go to Ghana, I can confirm that it is not a pleasant experience.
I have to go to the visa office twice before travelling: once to drop my application off, and then once again to pick it up. The office is so busy that I sometimes have to wait for hours. The process is time-consuming and – if you need the visa in a hurry – expensive. I recently travelled to both Amsterdam and Portugal from London City Airport at short notice. If I had had to get visas first I probably would not have gone.
Speaking as a young person, I think we young travellers should stick together and demand to keep full free movement between here and the EU. After all, we grew up with free movement and so why should we give it up, particularly when it was not us who voted to leave. It was the older generation.
And what about the impact that Brexit will have on young people studying in the EU and on EU citizens studying in the UK? The Go Abroad website warns that we might end up paying more to study in Europe. Maastricht University in the Netherlands recently stated that if Britain leaves the EU, its tuition fees might rise from £1600 to as much as £8360.
One young person I spoke to called Benjamin had this to say: “If article 50 is triggered, and the United Kingdom decides to cut its ties with the EU completely, the effects will be disastrous for people like me who work within the creative industries. I do a lot of freelance work and record short films and videos for various clients in the UK and overseas. My work requires me to travel. If I were made to obtain a visa each time I needed to travel, it … would cost me more time and money.”
According to the EU Law Analysis website, these extra costs could include the 60EUR fee that non-EU visitors currently have to pay for a short-term visa to visit the EU.
Although some fares to Europe are falling at the moment, once Brexit is in place air fares are likely to rise along with the costs of mobile calls from abroad, and travel insurance. And who will these rises affect most? They will affect those of us who like to travel most whilst being the ones who can afford it least. Yes that’s right – the young!