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to not want to be treated like a bargaining chip?

(120 Posts)
VallarMorghulis Thu 16-Feb-17 14:28:59

As a EU national who's lived here over 20 years, I am disgusted at the way the UK government is treating me and other like me like bargaining chips.

"Why didn't you apply for British citizenship?", you may ask. Well I don't have a spare £1500 behind the sofa that I could use to do so. Still I am planning to, I will beg and borrow if I need to, and hopefully, other than the bureaucratic hoops I'll have to jump through and the money I'll have to part with, it should be quite easy for me to do so.

However, for many other EU nationals, it's going to be impossible. Since 2015 a requirement to apply for citizenship is for EU nationals to first apply and obtain a permanent residence card. Many do not qualify, regardless of how long they have lived in this country, whether they have a British spouse or British children. For instance, stay at home parents, carers, students. Why? Because no-one told them that they needed a comprehensive health insurance to qualify. Universities even advise students that they don't need health insurance and that they should just register with a GP. The low earning self-employed are another category who do not qualify.

The government has said that they guarantee the right to stay of EU nationals who are lawfully residents in the UK. What does "lawfully" mean? Does that mean that people who do not qualify for permanent residency are not here lawfully? That they might be deported, or even face prison sentences? Some immigration lawyers think so ( Hopefully
it will not come to this, but the uncertainty is causing much distress.

I am so fed up of being told "you'll be all right". What about my friends who might not be?

Take Patrizia, for instance, who's story is shown in the video below. She's Italian, met and fell in love with her husband, they have 2 children and decided she would be a SAHM. She's been here most of her adult life. And yet, her future is uncertain.

I am not a bargaining chip, no one should be treated this way.

chemicalCat Thu 16-Feb-17 16:16:20


The treatment of EU nationals who are living in the UK is the most sickening thing about this country since the Brexit vote.

I am ashamed of our Govt for behaving like this.

TheABC Thu 16-Feb-17 16:21:25

Agreed - you came over in good faith and you deserve clarity (at the very least) about the future. The same applies to british people living elsewhere in the EU - why can't the governments simply agree a reciprocal deal for all expats?

BoboChic Thu 16-Feb-17 16:23:45

What about British nationals living in the EU? Our government has abandoned us.

ShowMePotatoSalad Thu 16-Feb-17 16:27:25

YANBU. I have never known anything so divisive and utterly shameful my whole life.

BoboChic Thu 16-Feb-17 16:29:52

I'm afraid that I think this issue is emblematic of depths to which the Conservative government has sunk. They are a band of absolute incompetents with no regard for citizens of their own country or residents who came to the UK in good faith.

Perfectjob Thu 16-Feb-17 16:45:35


Totally disgusting and shameful. Everything about this - from the being used as bargaining chips, to the Home Office making achieving Permanent Residency impossible.

They will get their day of reckoning - the Tories that is.

VallarMorghulis Thu 16-Feb-17 23:09:12

Well once I get my citizenship I for sure won't be voting tory!

VallarMorghulis Fri 17-Feb-17 15:10:52

I can see this is a subject that most British people don't really care about, unless they are directly affected. It's really upsetting to see so many people protesting against Trump and his muslim ban but not doing anything about something so much closer to home which is causing an enormous amount of anguish.

Coralfish Fri 17-Feb-17 15:42:39

I can see this is a subject that most British people don't really care about, unless they are directly affected.

I'm not sure that's entirely true. Amongst my group of friends this is something which we all think is pretty terrible, and I can only think of one of my extended circle of friends in this situation so I would not say we are directly affected.

Not trying to minimise your feelings - I do see why you feel like that, but I just wanted to say that people do care IYSWIM.

ThePants999 Fri 17-Feb-17 15:54:54

I'm sure I'm hopelessly naive and optimistic, but I'm absolutely expecting that the Government will end up granting protections to EU nationals currently in this country - they just don't want to do it up front because they want assurances for UK citizens living in EU countries.

VallarMorghulis Fri 17-Feb-17 18:31:46

I'm sure I'm hopelessly naive and optimistic I'm afraid you might be.

There is a rejection rate of PR applications of about 30%. People who should have no problem getting PR are being denied it for technicalities. It's been alleged that HO assessors are being given incentives to refuse applications in the form of M&S vouchers, I have not seen any reliable evidence for this claim but on the face of it it wouldn't surprise me if it were true.

Some people have even received letters from the Home Office telling them to make preparations to leave the country (which is in breach of EU legislation, incidentally). The process is needlessly bureaucratic and complicated, people have to submit kilos of documents in evidence.

BoboChic Fri 17-Feb-17 18:34:56

"It's really upsetting to see so many people protesting against Trump and his muslim ban but not doing anything about something so much closer to home which is causing an enormous amount of anguish."

I agree.

VallarMorghulis Fri 17-Feb-17 18:48:32

Sorry posted too soon!

It seems to me the government are trying to reduce immigration through the back door, by discouraging people from applying and rejecting as many as they can of those who apply.

Also, as I've said before, TM has said that EU nationals who are here lawfully will be allowed to stay. First of all, we don't know what conditions will be attached to this after Brexit: will we be allowed to use the NHS? To claim benefits? To claim a pension? Etc.

Additionally, what does "lawfully" mean? Does it mean "people who have applied for and been granted permanent residence"? What about the others, those who don't qualify, who've been raising British children or looking after disabled or old British people, those who've been studying, who don't qualify because no one told them they needed comprehensive health insurance?

The argument that the government are holding off unilaterally guaranteeing our rights because they want a similar agreement regarding UK citizens living in other EU countries is a red herring. First of all, it's not the EU's prerogative to do so, it's down to each individual country as each member state makes its own immigration rules. Secondly, member states cannot enter into any negotiations before the UK has actuallly left the EU. And finally, it's the UK that has created this situation so really it's down to them to take the first step, it would actually stand them in good stead in future negotiations and is the morally correct thing to do. Incidentally organisations representing Brits settled in other EU countries agree with this.

I know a lot of British people do not agree with the way we're being treated as bargaining chips, but they don't do much to show it.

Rant over. Sorry about that...

BoboChic Fri 17-Feb-17 18:54:51

"First of all, we don't know what conditions will be attached to this after Brexit: will we be allowed to use the NHS? To claim benefits? To claim a pension? Etc."

There is no reason to believe that EU immigrants will be treated any differently post-Brexit to immigrants from e.g. the US. Without all the additional long term guarantees afforded by the EU, immigration to the UK by citizens of the EU will be an awful lot less attractive and EU citizens are likely to want to move within the EU, not to the UK, in search of work.

OhtoblazeswithElvira Fri 17-Feb-17 18:57:11

I can see this is a subject that most British people don't really care about, unless they are directly affected.

I'm not sure that's entirely true

Well there is nobody representing British citizens who care about this. Labour is a disaster, Lib Dems a non-event and the Tories are most definitely The Nasty Party. I have now accepted that there is no depth they will not sink to. Hopefully Britain will not turn into The Nasty Country although things seem to be going that way sad

BoboChic Fri 17-Feb-17 18:59:38

Most of the people who are affected by this are not part of the electorate - they are either EU citizens resident in the UK or British citizens in the EU, most of whom do not have a vote. I think, personally, that it is a major human rights issue.

ChasedByBees Fri 17-Feb-17 19:01:30

So sorry vallar and bobo. There are many of us who do not want Brexit and who will fight against it.

I strongly believe it will be disastrous for Brits too. Many don't realise it yet.

VallarMorghulis Fri 17-Feb-17 19:20:31

And that, BoboChic, is exactly why we need the support of British people in this country...

There's plenty they can do: write to their MPs, join a movement supporting EU nationals like The3million, participate in a protest (One Day Without Us, March for Europe), lobby their employers, sign a petition (, share the video I linked upthread...

It's a struggle to get even people who I know are supportive to do anything at all, even just sharing a video. I shared it on FB, tagging all my friends and asking them to share it. I've had about 10 shares...

averylongtimeago Fri 17-Feb-17 19:22:41

I too am a bargaining chip. DH and I moved to the EU a couple of years ago, we have a small business and a house here, all our assets are here. Yet hanging over our heads is the threat that we could loose the lot, be forced to sell (probably at a loss as the housing market would take a big hit if all the Brits had to sell at once) and return to a country where, according to May we are "citizens of no where".
At the moment we don't need to get official papers in order to stay, it's our right. We are "in the system" for tax and social payments .
If things change, we would have to get leave to remain (lots of complicated paperwork) and pass an obligatory test in the language and culture (written and spoken), it's difficult and I don't know if we would pass, despite being OK for day to day use.
Our pensions, which we would be getting in a couple of years, come from the UK. Currently they would be paid as if we were in the UK, going up the same etc. After? Who knows. Currently we get health care on the same basis as locals, part social charges and part top up insurance. After we retire haha the bill would be picked up by the NHS. After brexit?
Should we be forced to leave, what will happen when we bring our possessions back to the UK? Will we be charged import duty? What about our car? What about our dogs?
Neither of us is sleeping well, I am sure the worry is making DH ill, but what can we do?

Oh, and the next person who calls me a "remoaner" can fottfsofatfosm.

ARumWithAView Fri 17-Feb-17 19:54:03


There was another thread like this, recently; the quiet 2015 change to PR requirements is catching out a lot of SAHPs and carers, and will probably disproportionately affect women and those on low incomes.

Funnily enough, none of the charmers who pop up relentlessly on other Brexit threads to make timeless witty one-liners like LOL you stupid Remoaners shut up we won and you're just throwing your dummies out the pram and all just doom and gloom... none of these had the guts to come and speak to MNetters who've been thrown into limbo, or who have elderly relatives currently wondering what the hell might happen if they can't get citizenship.

Start a thread titled 'let's go on a pro-EU march' and you'll be knee-deep in hilarious rejoinders. There'll be pages of them.

Start a thread about your own personal circumstances, and the complete uncertainty into which you've been thrown? Silence.

The closest thing to a response you'll ever get is inane reassurances: 'oh don't worry, I'm sure it'll be fine' and the apply-head-to-desk protestation 'well, I didn't vote for that'.

There are millions of people who feel exactly the same as you, but it's unclear who's representing our interests and views in parliament. My own MP is pro-remain, but what can she actually do when her party is a fucking shambles on the issue (and a shambles overall)? Threads like this remind me exactly why I'm still gutted about Brexit, and how it'll take a lot more remoaner-snowflake-ohyouhatedemocracy twattery before I come even close to shutting up.

ARumWithAView Fri 17-Feb-17 20:00:02

This is the thread I mean:

VallarMorghulis Fri 17-Feb-17 20:00:31

My MP is Ed Vaizey... calls himself a remainer, made all the right noise at a constituency meeting, then "accidentally" revealed he'd received a letter from the home secretary about guaranteeing the rights of EU nationals just before the Brexit bill vote, which no doubt helped persuade some MPs to vote it through without amendments...

Levie Fri 17-Feb-17 20:01:00

I'm a British citizen but my elderly Mum isn't. She's been in the UK over 50 years, worked for many years, is the widow of a British citizen but her status is by no means guaranteed. She has no official proof of her right to be here- even though she probably had Indefinite Leave to Remain stamped in her passports back in the sixties. But her country (France) retains old passports on renewal and she never expected to have to prove her rights fifty years on.
People like her, who are retired, can't easily come up with the documentation that the Home Office requires in order to confirm right of residency. People are having their applications rejected on simple technicalities. It's a huge task for anyone, let alone an elderly person, to collect up the very specific forms of documentation which are prescribed. Who on earth keeps payslips from decades ago?
I don't think she will be deported, but I do worry greatly about her access to the NHS after Brexit. Even though she has only ever worked in the UK and paid tax and NI here, she will find it difficult and stressful to get together the paperwork to claim her rights.
Many many people are affected. It's not just the 3 million EU citizens in the UK but it must be millions more people like me, who are hugely anxious about the future of direct family members.

VallarMorghulis Fri 17-Feb-17 20:01:41

The3million represent us. There is a mass lobby in Westminster on Monday

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