British and EU couples fear their family may be torn apart by a ‘hard Brexit’ deal if EU citizens lose their rights to reside in the UK.
Hillary Freeman, an award-winning Guardian journalist, who lives in Camden Town, London with her husband and their daughter said in her Guardian report that she is “scared for her family’s future.”
“My partner, Mickael, father of our 19-month-old daughter, Sidonie, is French – an EU immigrant. As things now stand, he might not be allowed to stay in the UK. Going to live in France – assuming the British will still have rights and I’ll be welcome there – might be the only way we can stay together as a family,” Ms. Freeman explained.
“My family is particularly vulnerable. Mickael has lived here for less than three years and is therefore not yet entitled to permanent residence or citizenship. He is not highly skilled. In fact, he is exactly the kind of immigrant we’re told the country neither needs nor wants. Except my daughter and I want and need him.”
Contrary to common belief, being married to a British citizen does not guarantee EU citizens with automatic right to live in the UK. The Law changed in 2012 when the former Home Secretary — Theresa May — proposed a new immigration plan to prevent foreigners from marrying British citizens just so they could remain in Britain.
As it stands, Prime Minister Theresa May has refused to give a running commentary about the negotiations between the UK and the EU. She has also insisted that she could not guarantee the rights of EU citizens living in the UK until British expatriates living in other European countries have also had their rights guaranteed.
She said: “Eight months on, and the three million EU immigrants are still being used as pawns in a political game with no discernible rules. EU families have had no assurances; we have been shown no compassion.”
A number of Twitter users also fear that cross-cultural marriage will lead to more families being separated and torn apart.
Mum, French, married to a UK man, lives & worked here since 61, scared to go & see her family in case she can’t return. Cheers Brexit cunts
— 🤡🤡🤡 (@KingDommy) February 13, 2017
Another post on Twitter read:
I wonder. What will happen to my Dutch sister in Law, who is married to a English Citizen & lives in England with him & their 2 kids #Brexit
— MEFDeBock (@MEFDeBock) June 24, 2016
The fate of EU citizen’s residential status remains unknown until negotiations between the UK and the EU ends in mid-march.