In Limbo: The EU citizens living in the UK
This week the amount of EU citizens leaving the UK hit its highest level for a decade.
With new migration from the EU falling to the lowest level for five years. There is little doubt that Brexit is the cause of this change.
Brexit has caused many EU citizens living in the UK to feel uncertain and insecure about what the future holds for them. A book I became aware of this week is a testament to the practical difficulties and the profound emotional stress that has been inflicted on many since the EU referendum. Limbo collects the testimony of 144 EU citizens living in the UK.
The people who collated the stories also run a blog in which they print the testimonies that didn’t make the book.
Here are a few short excerpts from the blog to give you an idea what people are going through.
A Scot married to a European.
I haven’t seen any direct reference to those of us who are married to or partnered with loved ones from other European countries. My wife has lived and worked in Scotland for nearly 15 years. A professional who works for a local government service. I work for a charity. We don’t know what my wife’s status will be after brexit. She may be asked to leave. If she is then I will be going too. Fantastic! Two job vacancies for UK residents. And off we go with our combined knowledge, experience, skills and understanding of local issues totalling 60 years. Don’t know where we will end up. Life might be harder. But if my wife is not wanted then neither am I. For the first time since the poll tax boycott I have hesitated to fill in the electoral register return. Why? Because it asks me to confirm the nationality of my wife. Will that information be used by the state, your state, to identify aliens? I’m scared. This is scary stuff folks. We don’t want to leave you. But we may not have that luxury that we have all enjoyed since freedom of movement across Europe came into being. I know I will not be the only partner in this situation. If you or anyone you know is, then please put them in touch with me. The unseen collateral. It’s time we had our voices heard. To the two folk that get our jobs: I hope you enjoy serving our communities as much as we have, that you have a long, peaceful and prosperous life. And that you are never rejected by the country you love. Thank you for reading.
The Sworn Translator’s Story
I just had a client today who came to pick up her French translations for her British documents in order to get her French passport as under French nationality law she’s entitled to a French passport through her French mother. Her son is British, her husband is British, her mother is French but lives in Crete. She burst out into tears today with all the paperwork as she’s an older lady, and took for granted (like many of us) the no-restriction travelling facilities within the EU as the UK, France and Crete are part of the EU. Now, she’s going through hoops and loops to get a French passport.
She never needed a French passport before so relied on her British passport. She’s doing the papers to get her French passport (through filiation), and for her husband to get his French passport (married to a French spouse), and to pass on the French nationality to her son. When she burst into tears, I had to use all my professional (medical interpreting) and family training (mother is a retired French nurse and my ex of 18 years was a British physician) not to cry my eyes out with her. I’ve also cried out many times because of Brexit.
This lady was happy with her life before Brexit but now is going through French and British administrative hurdles to get a French certificate of French citizenship through filiation (via the mother) just to keep being able to travel with no thrills to be able to see her mother in Crete, and go to France where her friends are. I comforted the lady and gave her some of my homemade French Christmas / New Year cards. My heart was in sync with her when she burst into tears but I had to use all my mental energy not to cry out as well. I’ll try not to cry today, but I don’t know if I’ll be able to hold it up. Brexit has become very real for some people. Very real indeed.
Find out more about Limbo here.