Surveys show EU and UK expatriates share post Brexit concerns

Published:  31 Aug at 6 PM
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Tagged: UK, Citizenship, Euro, England
Two parallel surveys have revealed expatriate concerns are increasing, both for UK citizens in the EU and Europeans living and working in Britain.

The two surveys approached expats regardless of their nationality or their present location in the UK or the EU. Overall, the vast majority of respondents who took part in both studies agreed that Brexit posed a major threat to the UK, with over a third of British expats saying they were already seeing a significant impact of their lifestyles. Responses from EU expats at present living in Britain showed a striking similarity to those of their British counterparts.

Unusually, both surveys allowed the expression of emotion in respondents’ replies, with an ‘alarming’ number admitting the result of the 2016 referendum had a negative effect on their mental health. Some spoke of initial depression, followed by increasing stress as time passed and no clear indications were given as to their post-Brexit predicaments. Many were concerned about its effect on their careers as well as on their families and their children’s education.

Over 10 per cent of EU expat respondents living in the UK noted an increase in racism, with more believing they we no longer welcome in Britain. One respondent described how he’d had his car vandalised several times as well as eventually losing his job. Another EU expat said he’s now perceived as a second-class citizen, with another saying he’s scared about rising nationalism in the UK, and several more admitting they’d been the recipients of unpleasant comments in the workplace.

UK lawmakers are seemingly unaware of the disturbing change of attitude towards expats revealed by the surveys. According to Theresa May, the status of the UK’s expatriate workforce will remain unchanged until the end of the two-year transition period, but no comment has been forthcoming about said status should a hard Brexit be the final outcome. As far as it goes to date, long-term guarantees for the EU expat community in the UK will need to be balanced with the same guarantees for UK expats in Europe.
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