Francesco and Gianluca, like their 98 Italian colleagues housed on a barge at Grimsby Fish Docks, had arrived in late January on a four-month contract to work at the French oil giant, Total, at Lindsey oil refinery in Immingham.
Francesco, in his late 40s, had worked as a welder in Tunisia and Libya. Gianluca, in his 30s, worked in Croatia and Germany. "This is my first time in the UK," he said.
And here in north Lincolnshire, "it was the first time in my 20 years of working life abroad that I've experienced anti-foreign feelings," said Francesco.