German phone companies rule out Brexit roaming charges in 2021

A number of phone operators in Germany have said they have no plans to introduce additional charges this year for people visiting the United Kingdom - but this may change in 2022.

German phone companies rule out Brexit roaming charges in 2021
A man chats on the phone with a Union Jack phone case. The UK is no longer covered under the EU Roaming Regulation due to Brexit. Photo: picture alliance/dpa | Friso Gentsch

Since leaving the single market at the end of 2020, the UK is no longer included in the the EU’s Roaming Regulation – the 2017 law that enabled customers to use their existing mobile contracts for free across Europe. 

READ ALSO: How the Brexit deal has changed daily lives of British residents in Europe

That means that Brits travelling in the EU, or residents of continental Europe travelling in the UK, could potentially face hefty roaming charges in the future. 

But a number of German phone companies have confirmed that – despite the regulatory changes – there will be no additional charges for people with German phone contracts travelling the UK in 2021. 

Both Vodafone and Telekom have stated that they have “no plans” to reintroduce roaming costs in Britain for the foreseeable future.

Both 1&1 and O2 are eschewing additional fees for roamers in 2021, but have not ruled out introducing them at a later date, according to a report in Spiegel.

A lot will depend on whether the companies can negotiate reciprocal deals with their counterparts in the UK, the companies revealed.

READ ALSO: VIDEO Q&A: What Brits in Germany need to know about residency after Brexit

At the start of 2021, the UK’s major phone operators – Three, EE, 02 and Vodafone – all said they had no plans to change their roaming policies due to Brexit.

However, some have become stricter on their ‘fair use’ policies for roaming. These states that Brits shouldn’t roam abroad for more than 62 days within a four-month period. 

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‘It’s their loss’: Italian universities left off UK special study visa list

The UK is missing out by barring highly skilled Italian graduates from accessing a new work visa, Italy's universities minister said on Wednesday.

'It's their loss': Italian universities left off UK special study visa list

Universities and Research Minister Cristina Messa said she was disappointed by the UK’s decision not to allow any graduates of Italian universities access to its ‘High Potential Individual’ work permit.

“They’re losing a big slice of good graduates, who would provide as many high skills…it’s their loss,” Messa said in an interview with news agency Ansa, adding that Italy would petition the UK government to alter its list to include Italian institutions.

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“It’s a system that Britain obviously as a sovereign state can choose to implement, but we as a government can ask (them) to revise the university rankings,” she said.

The High Potential Individual visa, which launches on May 30th, is designed to bring highly skilled workers from the world’s top universities to the UK in order to compensate for its Brexit-induced labour shortage.

Successful applicants do not require a job offer to be allowed into the country but can apply for one after arriving, meaning potential employers won’t have to pay sponsorship fees.

Students sit on the steps of Roma Tre University in Rome.

Students sit on the steps of Roma Tre University in Rome. Photo by TIZIANA FABI / AFP.

The visa is valid for two years for those with bachelor’s and master’s degrees and three years for PhD holders, with the possibility of moving into “other long-term employment routes” that will allow the individual to remain in the country long-term.

READ ALSO: Eight things you should know if you’re planning to study in Italy

Italy isn’t the only European country to have been snubbed by the list, which features a total of 37 global universities for the 2021 graduation year (the scheme is open to students who have graduated in the past five years, with a different list for each graduation year since 2016).

The Swiss Federal Institute of Technology, EPFL Switzerland, Paris Sciences et Lettres, the University of Munich, and Sweden’s Karolinska Institute are the sole European inclusions in the document, which mainly privileges US universities.

Produced by the UK’s Education Ministry, the list is reportedly based on three global rankings: Times Higher Education World University Rankings, the Quacquarelli Symonds World University Rankings, and The Academic Ranking of World Universities.

Messa said she will request that the UK consider using ‘more up-to-date indicators’, without specifying which alternative system she had in mind.