Young Britons in EU countries feeling the Brexit chill

Published:  2 Nov at 6 PM
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Endless articles on the plight of expat retirees in EU member states have now become the post-Brexit norm, but young Britons working in the EU are also in confusion.

It’s not just elderly Brit expats whose lives are being turned upside down by the Brexit vote, it’s also the huge number of millennial expats who’ve chosen to live thier lives and begin their careers overseas. For young Britons, the EU’s freedom of movement is an option they’ve grown up with, and working overseas is seen as a great way to kick-start the rest of their lives.

Many got their first chance to live overseas through the Erasmus exchange scheme, launched in 2007 and now a favourite with younger, more adventurous Britons. Others have chosen to study at overseas universities in Scandinavia or the Netherlands in order to get a good degree at a reasonable price, and many have decided to stay international for the foreseeable future.

For British expats aged between 18 and 34, living, studying or working in EU member states is a far more attractive option than struggling to get a decent education or job in the home country. Younger expats are now faced with deciding whether to put down permanent roots far from their UK families, and are resenting the fact that the rules have changed so drastically as well as the absurdity that an Australian with an Irish parent could stay in the EU for ever, whilst they may be forced out.

Younger expats see the benefits of adjusting to life in another country as a positive challenge, unlike the elderly heading to Spain for retirement in the sun and clinging to the local British-style pub and its bingo nights. Interestingly, two German political parties are now suggesting the government should bestow citizenship on young Brits rather than having them all sent home.
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