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The Curmudgeon

The curmudgeon is a miserable sod. He likes to have a moan. He tackles subjects which many foreigners living in Spain agree with but are too polite to say anything.

Brexit - yet another negative consequence of leaving the European Union
Tuesday, January 17, 2023 @ 11:50 AM

By the Curmudgeon


Brexit has proved a disaster for the UK and for British folk, both those at home and for those of us who live abroad.

Never mind the loss of trade, a rise in the cost-of-living, inflation, the Northern Ireland protocol, loss of European funding, loss of educational and cultural links, travel restrictions, insufficient seasonal workers in agriculture and hospitality. Not to mention the loss of thousands of foreign doctors and nurses from the National Health Service.

According to a recent poll 58% of British voters would now opt to remain in the EU.


The latest negative consequence of Brexit is the suspension of the Workaway scheme in the UK.


The Workaway scheme


This scheme, by which travellers can exchange their skills for free board and lodging, is immensely worthwhile for both host and “workaway”. A genuine “win-win”.

Katie Glass, a travel journalist and erstwhile Workaway host wrote in The Guardian newspaper: “I loved being a Workaway host but now Brexit has ended it in the UK. I was privileged to host international travellers wishing to work in exchange for board and lodgings, but tighter entry rules have now made it impossible.”

Workaway has stated it can no longer list exchanges in the UK because of Brexit entry rules.

When Katie first heard about Workaway it sounded too good to be true. It sounded like something that only happened in dreams.

She had moved to a ramshackle Somerset cottage without enough skills to do the renovations herself, or money to pay tradespeople, so she turned to Workaway for help. For the past year it has kept her in labourers and friends.

Her Workaway guests, sleeping in her caravan and spare room, came from across the globe and the social spectrum, ranging in ages from their teens to their 50s. A healer from Kenya; an engineer from Argentina; a graffiti artist from Seattle and an Irish teenager.

“Often guests were taking gap years or having mid-life crises, and I felt privileged to be a stop on their journeys.”

Most of the Workaways she met were travellers from abroad, but some were British people opting out of the system or young digital nomads looking for alternative ways of living.

“One writer from Boston, Lincolnshire, helped plaster my ceiling in between writing video games in my caravan; a builder from Manchester helped me install a garden gate while trading cryptocurrency on the side.”

As a travel writer whose ability to travel was drastically curtailed during the pandemic, Glass relished the way Workaway brought the world back into her life. She reports feeling spoiled as guests from Italy, Kenya and Brazil cooked meals and she learned to cook more vegan dishes than she knew existed.

Workaway made it known recently that it was “pausing a large portion” of UK host listings until further notice. “As regulations around travel and working visas have become much stricter post-Brexit, especially for Europeans, it’s become unfeasible to continue listing exchanges in the UK.”

A Workaway spokesperson added: “With changes in regulations for EU visitors because of Brexit, it’s no longer feasible to us to continue listing exchanges in the UK, as it takes up too many of our resources. This has been an internal decision.

It has not been a decision we’ve taken lightly, and we feel extremely saddened that we have to take this action.”

Since Brexit, someone from the EU can only volunteer in the UK for up to 30 days, and then only with a registered charity. To do voluntary work for more than 30 days requires a charity worker visa, which is also required by non-EU nationals coming for any length of time.

Katie Glass writes that the end of the Workaway scheme in the UK feels such a loss for her, other hosts, and all travellers who used the site to experience British life in a very “real” way. “Like so many things about Brexit, it seems to have closed the country down and closed the British off to new experiences.”


Personal Experience

I have met dozens of Workaways here in Spain, mostly volunteering in the hospitality industry, but some in construction. An Argentinian, a German and a Slovenian, all workaways I met in my local hotel in 2022, did work for me on the side, and I paid them.

I felt privileged to meet people from Argentina, Austria, Canada, Colombia, Cuba, France, Germany, Ireland, Mexico, Russia (before the war in Ukraine), Switzerland, Uruguay and the USA. Most were young, but not all. An older, Argentinian/Uruguayan couple have converted their workaway status and are now waged staff at a local hotel.



The Workaway scheme is alive and well in 2023.

Spain and other countries around the world will continue to host Workaways, but no longer the UK for the foreseeable future.

Shame on you Boris Johnson, Michael Gove, Nigel Farage, Tim Martin (Wetherspoons) et al for all your rhetoric and lies about what Brexit would mean for the UK. This is just another consequence on the ever-lengthening list of negatives the 2016 referendum has left us with.


© The Curmudgeon



Katie Glass

The Guardian


Tags: Brexit, Boris Johnson, Curmudgeon, EU, Guardian, Katie Glass, Michael Gove, negative consequence, NHS, Nigel Farage, Tim Martin, Wetherspoons, Workaway


Like 3


windtalker said:
Sunday, January 22, 2023 @ 6:15 PM

Why won't the EU reciprocate with the UK...the EU closed shop iron curtain is not working...the UK doesn't want so call freedom of movement and the main reasons behind this is that the UK does not have the resources or infrastructure to accommodate transients from the EU..

windtalker said:
Monday, January 23, 2023 @ 1:06 AM

Brexit is over the UK public voted to leave... All these stupid poles that are held are from pro European news papers and paid leave activist...

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