Welsh expats in EU air their concerns

Published:  13 Mar at 6 PM
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Of the 1.2 million British expats living and working in EU member states, just below half a million are originally from Wales.

Amongst the 1.2 million British citizens whose lives overseas have been put on hold by Brexit, the 470,000 from Wales may well have have more to be concerned about than the rest, due to the still-declining fortunes of the former industrial and mining region. Many Welsh expats have built new lives, retired or opened small businesses after leaving the home country, and are more concerned than most about the unwelcome prospect of returning.

Dev, originally from Cardiff, is the 32-year old son of Pakistani immigrants who arrived when the Welsh capital was still a buzzing hive of industry and a melting pot of cultures. Racism existed, he said, but there used to be a feeling of being part of something larger than yourself. He fears racism nowadays is a serious concern and doesn’t want to give up his EU-funded job as a researcher in Madrid and return home.

Tony Jones and his wife, both from Swansea and now living in Benidorm, have similar concerns based on whether they will be able to continue running their Welsh bar, a hub for expats from the Land of Song. They’ve been in Spain for seven years and hoped to stay for the rest of their days until Brexit hit hard on their dreams. Tony isn’t optimistic, saying if the politicians can mess it up, they probably will.

Rachel Watkins from Newport has lived in Paris with her French husband for ten years, and is heartbroken by Brexit as she feels the shared EU identity between her and her husband is now in pieces. Her main concern is that, if she and her children are forced to return to the UK, it’s quite possible her husband couldn’t join her due to the earnings rule. She told Wales Online she’d read about couples in that situation and is scared her family will be broken up by Brexit.

Harry from Anglesey now lives in Ireland, and considers all politicians involved in Brexit are clueless. He believes no British citizen will be forced to return to the UK, as no EU member state would want them to leave, but on a personal basis he’s worried about his pension and access to social services. He’s also concerned about the effect of a hard border between the north and the south of Ireland, saying it might lead to serious violence as well as negatively effecting businesses.

Source: WalesOnline
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