EU expat exodus from UK predicted to soar during 2018

Published:  15 Mar at 6 PM
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The trickle of EU expats leaving the UK is expected to become a flood during 2018.

Ever since the Brexit referendum result was announced, EU member state citizens living and working in the UK have quietly been preparing to leave, either for their home countries or to start again as expats in an unknown land. As the negotiations drag on, the trickle is predicted to become a flood during 2018, whatever agreement is reached about the transition period.

The effect of the Leave vote on sterling is making the exodus even harder and more costly for many, with expatriate savings hit by the shrinking pound and some fearing the transition to another country will be too expensive to undertake. Others are moving their money overseas, predicting a negative Brexit effect on the British economy and refusing to be punished by UK voters’ choice. For those in a relationship with a Briton, the situation is even more desperate as, post-Brexit, their partners will need to comply with the UK’s punishing income threshold or face losing their loved ones.

The message from EU member state citizens caught in the Brexit crossfire is as harsh as the situation they find themselves in – anger and resentment at the way they’re being treated. Most have lived long-term in Britain, working, paying their taxes and social security contributions and contributing to the economy. The NHS and higher education are hardest hit to date, with hospitals and universities managing the best they can. International businesses are already moving valued expat staff overseas, and post-doctorate students in the science sector are planning to leave due to the post-Brexit cessation of EU research grants.

It’s not just expatriates who are queuing up to leave before it’s too late, as many Brits concerned about their children’s futures are planning their own exodus. European job interviews are being sought, properties are being put on the market and overseas housing costs are being calculated. Moreover, those departing have no intention to ever return, as they fear Brexit will render the home country unrecognisable within just a few years. Worst of all, increasing numbers of EU expatriates are noting a significant increase in prejudice against foreigners, including xenophobic and racist comments on public transport.
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