Brexit means Brexit but what does Brexit mean?
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In a worrying statement it appears that 39% of Britons living in NL have done nothing to regulate their residency in the Netherlands post Brexit, according to a survey by DutchNews.nl.
There seem to be many reasons for this neglect. I think the chief hope of Brits living in the Netherlands is that the British government will see sense and change its mind and that Brexit will be discontinued. At the moment it seems that over 60% of Brits in the UK are against us leaving the EU. As only about 37% of those actually eligible to vote, voted to leave, nothing seems to have changed, though the Brexiteers ideas get more fanciful and their post Brexit plans are non-existent.
Other reasons for this lack of action seem to be that there is a lack of information from the UK Government, and a genuine concern about not knowing what to do. People are contacting the Dutch immigration service website for information, but only 15% have applied for a residency permit.
It is interesting that there has been a jump in applications to become German or French citizens, but only 10% have applied for Dutch nationality. For many they don’t want to give up British citizenship whilst others are worried that becoming Dutch would affect their right to return to Britain.
A common theme was that if the Dutch Government allowed dual nationality they would jump at the chance to acquire it.
Some of the biggest post Brexit concerns for respondents to the survey were the loss of their rights to healthcare and that their children’s schooling in the Netherlands could be affected. Over half of them were worried about the loss of pension rights. They don’t know whether Banking regulations will change and some actually worry that Banks will no longer be allowed to transfer money into their Dutch accounts.
Theresa May UK Prime Minister, assured EU citizens living in the UK that they would be allowed to stay in the event of no deal, but she sadly failed to address the situation facing 1.2 million British citizens across the EU, including nearly 90,000 in the Netherlands. This is an appalling disservice to people who have spent most of their lives paying UK taxes and now are being left in limbo by a Government that seems more concerned with keeping 60 of its own MPs happy rather than worry about the millions who will be adversely affected by Brexit. The UK Government has said that British citizens will be able to continue their lives broadly as they are now, but how when so many details remain cloudy? It is unclear what the British government means and their plans for Brexit have been so shambolic can we trust anything they say? Indeed, it begs the question as to whether any of the governments spokespeople actually know what they are talking about. Some 88% of respondents to the survey say the information they have had from the British authorities about their status was poor or very poor. This seems to mirror the lack of knowledge of the UK negotiators and their workforce. For most who try, the answer seems to be that there is no information, nobody seems to know where the situation is heading and so ultimately, no one can provide any advice with any certainty. There just appears to be vague options and opinion. There is no certainty in any of this. What a shambles, after over forty years of harmony
The Dutch Government seems to be doing better in nits response to concerns raised about Brexit. IND The Dutch immigration service has been holding focus group meetings with Brits in the Netherlands and has set up a special Brexit page on its website. It is also planning to launch a newsletter and a social media campaign to inform British nationals about their rights.
The situation is particularly unsure for those who have lived in the Netherlands for less than five years. Just over 88,000 British nationals live in the Netherlands, including 39,000 children and adults who were born here, according to national statistics agency CBS. What will their status be? What will the children’s?
All these questions and so few solid answers from the UK government.
This is a complete mess. The Brexiteers just want to leave and foresee some golden Utopia, whilst those of us in the real world can see that our future is in the EU. We will come crawling back in a few years’ time, trying to re-enter the EU and what will their response be?
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Give us your view.