… and don’t want to leave
Most UK expats living in the European Union, Iceland, Norway or Switzerland who are covered by the Brexit agreement say they feel European and plan to continue to live in European Union countries.
The findings have been revealed through a recent survey published by The Local reports.
The same survey notes that despite the fact that the majority of them feel European, they continue to have concerns about travel, among other things.
Concern over passport stamping
According to the research, problems continue to exist while travel is where the majority of the issues related to the new status occur. It has also been reported that border officials continue to stamp passports of Britons with residence rights under the European Union and the United Kingdom withdrawal agreement, despite the fact that they shouldn’t.
“There is constant confusion around passport stamping. I was ‘stamped in’ to France on a short trip… but could not find anyway to be ‘stamped out’ again. I think I can only spend 90 days in other EU countries, but have no idea how anyone can check or enforce that – until someone decides to try. It’s a mess,”
The same survey further noted that there are still some issues that cause confusion among citizens.
“Every time I go through a Schengen border check, I need to provide both my passport and Aufenthaltstitel card [resident permit in Germany] and watch to check that they don’t stamp my passport. As I am currently travelling a lot that’s been 20-odd times this year…” a respondent pointed out in this regard.
The survey was carried out by Professor Tanja Bueltmann, historian of migration and diaspora at the University of Strathclyde in Glasgow, between October and November 2022. About 1,139 UK citizens replied. Of these, 80% found acquiring their new status easy or very easy, 60.7% feel their rights are secure, while 39.3% have concerns about their status going forward.
More than three quarters (76.6%) of respondents said they plan to live permanently in the EU or the other countries of the European Economic Area and Switzerland. In fact, 65.7% said that Brexit has increased the likelihood of this choice. For some, the decision is linked to the difficulty to bring non-British family members to the UK under new, stricter immigration rules.
“My German wife and I decided we no longer wanted to live in UK post Brexit referendum. In particular, we were affected by the impact of immigration law […] We cannot now return to UK on retirement as I cannot sponsor her on my pension. We knew it was a one-way journey. Fortunately, I could revive an application for German citizenship,” was a testimony.
“My husband is a US citizen and getting him a visa for the UK was near impossible due to my low income as a freelance journalist. We realized under EU law, moving to an EU country was easier. We settled on Austria as we had both lived there before… we could speak some German, and we like the mountains,” said another respondent.
Professor Bueltmann noted that the loss of free movement rights in the EU could be a factor too in the decision of many to stay where they are.
Citizenship and representation
Among those who decided to stay, 38.2% are either applying or planning to apply for a citizenship and 28.6% are thinking about it. A key finding of the research, Bueltmann said, is that the vast majority of British citizens do not feel politically represented. Some 60 per cent of respondents said they feel unrepresented and another 30% not well represented.
Another issue is that less than half (47.5%) trust the government of their country of residence, while a larger proportion (62%) trust the European Union. Almost all (95.6%) said they do not trust the UK government.
The survey highlights the Brexit impacts on people’s identity too. 82.6% of respondents said they see themselves as European, a higher proportion than those identifying as British (68.9%).
“Brexit has really left me unsure of what my identity is. I don’t feel British, and I certainly don’t identify with the mindset of a lot of British people who live there. Yet, I am not Danish either. So, I don’t really know anymore!”
Professor Bueltmann said the survey “demonstrates that Brexit impacts continue to evolve: this didn’t just stop because the transition period was over or a deadline for an application had been reached. Consequently, Brexit continues to shape the lives and experiences of British citizens in the EU/EEA and Switzerland in substantial, sometimes life-altering, ways”.
Considering the results of the study, Professor Bueltmann recommends policy makers in the EU and the UK to address the issue of lack of representation, for instance creating a joint UK-EU citizens’ stakeholder forum. The report also recommends the UK government to rebuild trust with British citizens in the EU introducing voting rights for life and changing immigration rules to allow British-European families to return more easily.
COVID-19 in Madeira: updates can be found in an earlier post
14 thoughts on “Most expats feel European”
I live in the UK but feel European as well as British. After all, the UK left the EU, it cannot leave Europe!
Well not unless we declare the UK as a new continent 🤣🤣🤣🤣🤣
My thoughts exactly.
The other way is to attached the UK to the USA to become another USA estate problem sloved since the UK is like the little dog that follows the USA in everything .
… I’m from the UK but now live in Madeira, but I can proudly say that I’m Definitely “Not an Expat” !!! …
I really don’t understand what this is all about, being a Scot(not a nationalist) I say We are all Jock Thomson Bairns. We are all gods people)
Which of the about 5 000 gods are you referring to?
Asking for a friend.
Another controversial topic brought in by the editor.When I am in Madeira I am Madeiran and when I am in the UK I am British.
All the European countries have their own identities.Recently though I have found quite a lot of hostility towards the Brits by the locals and that’s very sad.
Michael I would not worry about the locals too much they still smile when they take your money? They just have realised they have fu*ked up their own paradise Madeira Island with the greed for tourism it’s their own fault.
Who are “They”?
No every one is lack that . And what do you aspect live from ? From fresh air ?
Mick, I’m still waiting for the evidence I thought you would be keen to supply, that all crime in Madeira is the work of the Venezuelan immigrants. Just as I’m waiting for the constructive suggestions on how you and your little band of bigots, who like yourself hide their identity, would improve the lot of the Madeiran people.
I don’t mind controversial topics, I like a well thought out counter argument . What I don’t like is the thoughtless, bitter, bigoted, unconstructive criticism. That and the anonymous thumbs up readers that support that criticism without the courage or intelligence to publish their own thoughts.
An Expat is generally someone who lives and/or works in a foreign country, but does not intend to make that country their permanent home. This article is essentially talking about U.K. Immigrants, not Expats.