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Any 'settled' EU citizens thinking about relocating after Brexit?

(18 Posts)
ConfusedDotEU Tue 21-Feb-17 11:39:34

DH bot EU nationals (different countries of origin) have lived in the UK for more than 20 years. As a result of Brexit we are now considering moving to my home country, Germany. We are both naturalised, e.g. Britsih, dc are both british born, family language is English, all post High School qualifications and work experience acquired in England. Dc's native language is English, though they speak some German and a little Spanish.

I am worried about the UK economy after we Brexit, about the state of health care and education, pensions etc. All these factors are problematic in Germany too but overall provisioning for citizens and quality of life seem better in Germany.

If you are thinking about 'going home' or going to a third country after Brexit, can you share some of your thought processes with me? I am excited and scared at the thought of taking my family out of their familiar environment, the dc are both settled and happy at school, have friends, hobbies etc. we own a house have a mortgage.

But I worry about only barely being tolerated after Brexit; I am worried about people detecting that accent and never again truly belonging after we brexit. Before, we felt we belonged here, seeing that both dh and I spent our adult life here (since the age of 19/20) both dc born here, career based here etc. Now with xenophobia being promoted by the government and various popular news outlets we have suddenly become 'the other' l'etranger, the foreigner. This is so frustrating.

This feels like such a difficult period in our lives, and life has certainly not been plain sailing for us up until now. The one 'certainty' we had was that our chosen home country felt like home.

How do we get through this and make the right decision for our family? How will you? thanks

Libra Tue 21-Feb-17 12:00:46

DH is from the EU, I am British. I will admit that I don't know what we are going to do.
DH is 60 so I really worry about whether after Brexit we will suddenly have to pay for NHS access for him and whether there will be impact on his rights to a pension - he has worked here for 30 years so far.

DS1 speaks DH's mother tongue but DS2 does not really. I don't. There would be issues about me gaining citizenship in DH's country after Brexit.

I have actually applied for a job in New Zealand...

Lohengrin Tue 21-Feb-17 12:02:01

How old are your DC and what are your plans for education?
IME it is extraordinarily difficult for DC who are not absolutely fluent in BOTH spoken and WRITTEN German to transition into the German educational system after the age of 9. Even if they are very clever they will not be encouraged to go to a Gymnasium and will be directed towards Hauptschule or Realschule. I know of one US/German family whose DC spoke fluent German who were advised to send their DC to an Integrationsschule.

ConfusedDotEU Tue 21-Feb-17 12:07:20

Thank you for your thoughts. NZ sounds exciting Libra, have you spent time there before? I would imagine that anyone who has been paying NI and taxes as long as you DH will continue to be eligible for public service, at least one would hope.

Dc are 5 and nearly 7. We'd seek to move within 18 months ideally.

GlassOfPort Tue 21-Feb-17 12:42:36

Both DH and I are EU nationals. We have been living in the UK for more than a decade, our DC was born here. We took citizenship well before the Referendum because we too thought we belonged here and had a stake in the future of this country.

Now we are not so sure and have started looking for jobs elsewhere. Like the OP we are worried about the economy and the idea that as dual nationals we will never be considered sufficiently British.

The idea of starting again in another country is a bit scary and we may chicken out in the end, but every time I hear Theresa May speaking a feel a little bit more determined to go.

ConfusedDotEU Tue 21-Feb-17 12:50:55

"We took citizenship well before the Referendum because we too thought we belonged here and had a stake in the future of this country." These were our reasons too as well as travelling on one passport, in case we got caught in anything whilst travelling. Our lives here are totally sorted. Kids at school and happy, DH at work and thriving, I am thinking of going back to work in the next couple of years. As a family we communicate in English, here and abroad, although I try to speak German when I am alone with the them. We have our house and our shared experiences here. Yet........ when I look at my friends in Berlin, although their lives aren't easy or anything people seem more relaxed there on the whole and they are still in the EU, my family wouldn't be here without the EU iyswim. I think that the main desire for me to relocate is that I hate being made to feel as if I don't belong here based on my accent. But I worry that my dc will feel 'alien' if we move them from their most familiar environment here in Gland to Germany where they don't speak the language properly yet...

MyschoolMyrules Tue 21-Feb-17 13:33:08

I am not from the EU but from a commonwealth country, married to a Brit and living in the U.K. for 20 years. We are considering moving back to my country, which luckily is English speaking, because of the atmosphere in general in the U.K., issues with the economy at large, and also the education system falling to bits, and the NHS really not doing well at all. I am struggling with the increasingly vocal and visible rise of populism here, the far right, and yes the political farce, including some of the outrageous lies told by the conservatives, and lack of any other decent options. The children are happy here so I don't know what our final decision will be, but I am sure I am not the only immigrant (non EU) who is considering this. I can't see a bright future for my children in the U.K. And I am worried about the general attitude of many towards migrants, racism etc. although I am very conscious that the race of populism and far right is also present in many other countries.

GlassOfPort Tue 21-Feb-17 15:35:27

I think that children are very adaptable. I experienced my first international move at the age of 8 and picked up the local language/made new friends quite quickly.

I am more concerned about us adults...blush I don't know whether me and DH would integrate as quickly into new workplaces..

KarmaNoMore Tue 21-Feb-17 19:51:33

I agree that the adults struggle more than the children, it is more difficult to get very proficient in a language (or accent free) and make good friendships the older you are.

I have lived in 5 countries, can understand 5 languages but England has been my home for the last 20 years. My life is here, after all this time, everything I love and care for is here, I don't even fit in my own culture anymore but... I'm feeling unwelcome nowadays, I felt dismayed at hearing Teresa May calling citizens of the world, citizens of nowhere, and that rhetoric is certainly having an effect, I was spat at a couple of months ago, no provocation, no words exchanged, someone in a car stop to spit at and throw food at me while I was waiting to cross a street.

I had similar before, but not in the last 15 years. I just moved into a new job, and my main reason to move was that I was tired to hear people at work discussing the damage immigrants were doing to the country and exchanging ideas about how to phrase your comments so you can be racist without being called a racist.

But as I said, I don't fit back at home either so for the time being I'm staying here but once DS is in University I might be ready to pack the bags and move to a more tolerant place if I can find it.

ConfusedDotEU Tue 21-Feb-17 20:00:42

Oh Karma that sounds sad thanks.

Mistigri Wed 22-Feb-17 07:38:27

Your children are a great age for moving. I think that with the exception of the very brightest children with unusual aptitude for language learning, moving after age 9 or 10 is a risk - particularly so in Germany, where I believe there is a first round of educational selection at age 11.

I'm in France and non-French speaking kids who move here in late primary or during secondary almost always suffer some educational disadvantage.

So if you think you may wish to move, then I would do so at the earliest opportunity.

Mistigri Wed 22-Feb-17 07:46:05

Karma so sorry, this is not the Britain that I left sad

Re kids finding it easier, this is of course true, but don't underestimate the burden of learning to write in a new language at a stage in your education when all your classmates have already mastered this.

WifeofDarth Wed 22-Feb-17 08:00:07

I'm british, DH is EU. We live in the UK and are are both in the process of applying for each other's nationality to ensure we don't get separated.
DH's work is threatened by Brexit, so we'll just have to go wherever the work is.
On the one hand I like the thought of bringing DC up in Europe, I think they'll have a better future there (lower uni fees, not being dependent on career in finance to have good standard of living, public service jobs being 'doable'). On the other I am nervous about leaving the only home I know, the impact on change of country on older DC (aged 11), and the prospect of leaving DM alone in this country at this point in her life.
When it comes down to it, I don't think the choice will be ours, we'll just have to follow the work (and for that reason I am so grateful to be a mixed family, if we were purely British we might not even have the option of looking for work in EU).
Am interested to follow all your experiences in the coming months.

fairweathercyclist Fri 03-Mar-17 09:44:10

I hate being made to feel as if I don't belong here based on my accent

I felt that when I studied in Germany to be honest. You will be transferring that from you to your kids as presumably they will have English accents however good their German is? Or do they sound like native speakers?

I studied in Germany twice (and also worked there for a time) and the one thing I really liked when I came back after my second stint studying was that my defining characteristic was no longer that I was English and therefore was not at all bored about answering constant questions about why we had a Royal Family. I was asked by other students why I was there, whether I intended to stay after my course etc and not always in a merely interested way. Xenophobia, however minimal, is sadly not limited to the UK. And it's not even xenophobia, it's just having to deal with the stereotypes all the time. This was in the 90s so things may have changed a bit, but do consider it.

Mistigri Fri 03-Mar-17 13:32:47

Kids the age of the OP's children will acquire local accents very quickly.

My kids speak English at home (they have a very neutral accent that would be quite hard to place) and French at school etc; they both have a very identifiable regional French accent. You certainly wouldn't know French was their second language.

GrouchyKiwi Wed 15-Mar-17 22:35:49

I'm a Kiwi but have an EU passport, DH is British. We are thinking about moving (back) to NZ, but will likely only do this if the government decides not to guarantee rights of citizens in my situation, ie SAHM.

DH is currently on the phone arguing with his Leave-voting mother about whether our contingency plan is necessary. She is blithely saying that we'll be just fine, because we're married and I'm white.

I want to go back, but I also really don't want to go back. This is my country, I chose to live here and I love it. But I no longer feel like this country wants me. So it's a hard decision to make. We have three tiny children (5, 2 and 9 months) and making the right decision for them is tough.

RhuBarbarella Sun 19-Mar-17 14:47:57

I'm from the EU, DH is British. We live in Scotland so it's different for us. He's been in Scotland for around 20 years, I have been there for 7 now. If brexit means it will be too difficult for us we're thinking of moving to Ireland. I don't want to go back to my 'home' country, DH doesn't speak the language and I have had enough of it tbh. Of course all could change with independence, which would work for us. I'd prefer to stay. I haven't had any issues in Scotland about not being welcome.

Sickofthinkingofnewnames Sun 19-Mar-17 15:08:50

I'm Irish dp British. I can't actually believe this is happening still.I'm happy here and I don't want to go back to Ireland but for the first time we are considering it.

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