Scotland is home: five EU nationals and Scots living in Europe on Brexit

By , 01/04/18

Scotland didn’t vote for Brexit. If the UK is to leave the EU, it is vital that the impact on you and your family is at the heart of the process.

 

In government and at Westminster, the SNP will listen to your voice in the Brexit process and stand up for your interests. To help us do that we’re speaking to people across Scotland about what matters to them in this process.

 

Here are just four people who have made Scotland their home, or have found a new home in Europe, who have given us their thoughts on Brexit.

 

Maciej Wiczynski, an NHS worker originally from Poland

Over a decade ago I made a decision to exercise my right as an EU citizen to move to Scotland - to taste something different and expand my horizons. I have never regretted that.

 

The last two years have been awful. It is like sitting on a ticking bomb. The way the Brexit process has been handled is shambolic. Westminster politicians don't have a clue about the reality and are trying to put a good face on a game which has catastrophic consequences for all of us, all sections of this unique society.

 

My achievements and endeavours to make Scotland my home are being disregarded by a group of irresponsible British politicians. Luckily, by choice, I made Scotland my home and I am looking full of hope at the Scottish Government and Parliament.

 

Catriona Black, a Scottish writer now living in the Netherlands

When my husband’s job took us to the Netherlands six years ago, it wasn’t easy, but it was a heck of a lot easier than it will be after Brexit. I’ve organised Irish passports for the children and me, but my husband isn’t eligible, and if he takes Dutch citizenship then he’ll have to give up his UK passport according to Dutch law. So we don’t have a solution for the family as a whole.

 

While as a freelancer I’ve found plenty of new work in the Netherlands, I’ve never stopped working on creative projects in the Gaelic community – and the EU makes it easy for me to straddle that divide when it comes to things like VAT and production insurance. I dread to think what bureaucratic obstacles I’ll face trying to stay active in the Gaelic world after Brexit.

 

Jérémie Fernandes, a librarian who lives in Banffshire

I have lived in Scotland for six years, as a university teacher and then as a librarian.  I feel Brexit has emboldened and empowered right-wing extremists. The tone of the conversation has changed. I was an ‘EU national’, now I am a ‘migrant’. A lot of my EU friends have moved elsewhere or are considering it. University lecturers, doctors, researchers, PhD students. That’s the kind of talent Scotland is going to lose because of Brexit.

 

 

Julia Stachurska, a student from Motherwell

Being an 18 year old, immigrant woman in the midst of Brexit is daunting; in ‘Brexit Britain’ we will have a narrative regarding immigration that is overwhelmingly defined by the political conservative right. This leads to a mass of uncertainty, doubt and worry for EU Nationals residing in Scotland.

 

Immigrants arriving in Scotland frequently have no concrete plan for their future. However, I am proud, and extremely glad of the fact that I had the chance to make Scotland my home. Through this, I have reached my highest potential, and had the experiences which would be unimaginable if I had still been a resident of Poland. Despite having a tough start, I truly believe that I am a part of Scotland, and Scotland is a part of me.

 

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Ben Kempas, a filmmaker and campaigner who lives in South Queensferry

I moved here not for economic reasons but for love – the love of a person as well as love of a place that made me feel grounded and welcome and kept inspiring me.

 

Following my time at the Scottish Documentary Institute, I started a small company in Edinburgh a year and a half ago, and more than half of my turnover comes from clients in the EU, outside the UK. The single market makes it very easy for us to provide these services, and all taxes on our income are paid in the UK. That may well be over now.

 

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