British expats in Europe rush for dual citizenship

Published:  11 Aug at 6 PM
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Ever-increasing numbers of Britons living in Europe are rushing to obtain dual citizenship as hope fades for a good Brexit result.

Media reports tell of as many as a million Britishers choosing to take dual citizenship if possible rather than having to return to a post-Brexit Britain. The rush is heating up as no good news about their rights to stay in their chosen countries is forthcoming. Many are blaming the UK government’s lack of action and understanding of their situation, saying it’s only concerned about fair treatment for the three million and more EU citizens working in the UK.

One British editor at present living in France’s Poitou-Charantes region said no-one is there to represent the expat community and its voice is not being heard. Catherine Dobson is owner of Living, a popular English language magazine with a readership of 32,000 British expats. Theresa May’s recent announcement that freedom of movement for EU citizens in the UK would end in March 2019 isn’t helping either.

Another British magazine owner and editor, Fiona Godfrey, lives in Luxembourg. Her publication serves the British community, with 70 per cent of its readership stating they intend to gain dual citizenship before Brexit is finalised. The process involves being resident for five years or more plus a language and local knowledge test. This trend towards dual citizenship is growing within British expat communities all across the EU.

Vice-president of the British in Europe group Daniel Tetlow lives and works in Berlin, and told local media the group now has 35,000 members and is still growing daily by between 50 and 100 people. In an interview with French newspaper Le Figaro, he said Britishers living in Europe are feeling the need to become organised in order to fight the threat to their precious lifestyles. He believes much can be done, even within the British political class.

In the meantime, EU leaders are urging the UK not to end freedom of movement, as many expats could literally find themselves breaking the law should they be seen living in Europe post-Brexit. Recent research by the London School of Economics revealed at least 60 per cent of UK citizens in Europe want to stay where they are, and European passports are now very much in demand,

Others still in the UK are sick and tired of Brexit and are looking to quit the country, with applications for Irish passports rising by 50 per cent. Those whose grandparents were born in Ireland can claim citizenship.
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