Wednesday, August 4News For London

EU nationals’ mixed reactions to staying in UK after Brexit

A report urged Theresa May to allow EU nationals living in the UK to stay. They “should be allowed to remain in the UK permanently after Brexit” the report advised today.

Europeans' reactions to being able to stay in the UK after Brexit range from relief to continued concern. Photo: Fdecomite CC-BY-SA
Europeans’ reactions to being able to stay in the UK after Brexit range from relief to continued concern. Photo: Fdecomite CC-BY-SA

The report by think tank British Future condemned Theresa May’s refusal to reassure the 2.8 million European migrants living in the UK that they can remain in the country. Her delay in making a decision on the matter is “morally wrong,” the report stated.

EU nationals should have access to the same health, education and social services as British citizens, stated the report, written by a team of experts including an inter-party group of MPs.

Europeans studying in the UK have voiced relief that they might be able to stay. Elena Cherubini, an Italian journalism student said: “In my country it is really hard to find a job in the field I want to go into, which is the reason I came to the UK in the first place.” Recalling the wake of the EU referendum she said: “I was really scared that after my degree I would not have been able to stay here and find a job”

Likewise, Allegra Canessa, an Italian Law student said: “I am definitely feeling relief. After Brexit I was scared, studying law in the UK (Common Law) because the majority of states in the EU use civil law.” She added: “If I would like to go back to Italy or other civil states I need to pass a really hard exam in order to be a lawyer there.”

In contrast, a German graduate from LSE, Daniel Sippel explained, “I wasn’t particularly worried about not being able to stay in the UK after the Brexit vote. I expected to be able to stay in fact.”

Some remain concerned about how Brexit will affect them. Polish security guard Katarzyna Budna said: “The fact that we will be able to remain in the UK permanently does not mean that they won’t make our lives harder by the new enactment.” She explained, “For example, the NHS will not care for pregnant women if they have not got a British passport. So is this a relief? No, for me nothing will change.”

Jacob Nagrodski, a Polish medical student also voiced his concern. He said: “This might come as a relief to some, but not really to those who came to the UK to study and connect their future with this country in the long run.” He added: “As students, even after having lived here for several years, we are not guaranteed to have our career prospects protected under the same conditions that were outlined when we were first arriving.”

But others are less concerned about being able to remain in the UK. An italian retail worker, Umberto Renna said: “Nothing changes for me really. The worst case scenario is I would have moved somewhere else in Europe, probably somewhere warmer.”

The government said it is likely they will let EU nationals stay but on the condition that EU states reciprocate in their terms for Brexit. A government spokesperson claimed: “The prime minister and other ministers have been absolutely clear that they want to protect the status of EU nationals already living here.”

They added: “The only circumstances in which that wouldn’t be possible is if British citizens’ rights in European member states were not protected in return.”