lIn 2000 my Scottish wife and I moved to England from South Africa with our two sons. As I was born in the Netherlands our sons were registered as Dutch when born in SA; they are not entitled to British citizenship as my wife was not born in the UK. Our sons completed all of their schooling here and the youngest has recently gone to university.
I am a highly skilled worker and a chartered physicist in an industry which requires degrees in physics. I have not taken anyone’s job by being here as there are very few people in the world with my skills. I have mentored others to do the same work. I also contribute to my employer’s STEM activities to ensure that a new generation of UK students consider STEM subjects as these are important for the UK economy. In my 16 years here I’ve paid a fortune in tax and my family have barely troubled the NHS.
My children speak with local accents and know no other country as home but it is possible that leaving the EU will mean they are no longer entitled to live and work here. They have been educated in the UK, have friends here and want to make a life here. Of course, they could become naturalised British citizens but this costs over £1,000 which is a crazy amount of money for people just starting out as adults.
The decision for the UK to leave the EU will leave many young people like my sons in a state of limbo. Before this decision they were EU citizens living in the UK but after the decision they suddenly lose rights they have expected to continue without even having a say in the decision.
I’m OK – I have a British wife, but my sons may be seriously impacted by this absurd decision.
Want to share your own story? Shoot us an email at firstname.lastname@example.org