Published On: Wed, Jun 22nd, 2016

Brexit Vote Causing Uncertainty For Millions Of EU Citizens

The impending vote in the United Kingdom over the country’s future with the European Union, is forcing many people to reassess their personal status.

Within the European Union, citizens of a Member State have the legal right to live and work permanently in any other Member State. Though there have been some limited restrictions, the fundamental right to travel, live and work in any other state sits at the core of Europe’s rules.

photo/ screenshot YouTube

photo/ screenshot YouTube

As a nation with a global history and reputation, the United Kingdom has seen significant immigration over the years. In many respects, this is a result of the country’s success. The UK is much more visible than many other nations around the world and who wouldn’t want to live in the country of The Beatles, the Queen, Manchester United, cricket, Colin Firth, David Beckham and so much more?

It has not been a one-way street though. There are hundreds of thousands that have moved away from the UK, many to warmer climates in Spain, Portugal, France, Italy, Cyprus and Malta, for example.

A vote to leave the European Union has the potential to put all these lifestyles at risk. The potential harm is totally unknown and could be as diverse as businesses leaving the UK because their staff base needs to live elsewhere, to tens of thousands of properties being put up for sale in southern Spain and who can guess what else.

The press has reported many circumstances where Brits abroad have been applying for Irish and French passports. What is clear, is that there has been what can only be described as “a rush” in the world of dual citizenship of applications by EU citizens.

There is also the issue of other nationalities, such as the many Irish, living and working in the UK. If a person has been permanently resident in the UK for more than 5 years, it is likely that they can apply for a British passport. Rather than see people leaving the UK, it is possible that many of the 2 million or so EU citizens that are resident in the UK will, in time, become British.

It has become clear that while immigration is a major issue of debate in the UK and Europe more generally, it is much more complex a topic than the debate suggests.

Guest Author: Stuart Langridge

On the DISPATCH: Headlines  Local  Opinion

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