Victims of the Brexit fallout

Pauline Bock on the uncertainty facing EU nationals living in Britain

The World Today Published 7 December 2018 Updated 9 November 2020 3 minute READ

Pauline Bock

Freelance journalist in Brussels

Theresa May, the British prime minister, has added to the confusion and uncertainty of European Union citizens living in Britain by stating that after Brexit people from the EU would no longer be allowed to ‘jump the queue’.

The implication that they had somehow come to Britain illegally – as opposed to enjoying the same right of free movement which has applied to British people who live and work on the continent – was widely denounced as pandering to hardline Brexit supporters in her party. Nicola Sturgeon, the Scottish first minister, described it as an ‘offensive’ and ‘disgraceful’ distortion of the reciprocal right of free movement.

For the 3.7 million EU citizens living in the UK, it only added more urgency to the question they have asked themselves since the vote to leave the bloc in June 2016: What will happen to me?

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