"I don't have a place here anymore and it breaks my heart"

03 August 2017

This story was sent to us by Leila.

"I am a French citizen, and I arrived in the UK 14 years ago as a fresh graduate looking to broaden her horizons. I found work within 3 weeks of arriving and have been in full-time employment ever since.

I now have a British husband and daughter, and along the years I have made friends, business contacts and acquired a property. Until a year ago, I was hopeful for the future and I felt like I was part of the local community. All this changed after the Brexit referendum.

In the absence of any guarantees from the government about EU citizens' rights, I now worry every day. I worry about what would happen if I became unable to work due to illness or an accident; would I still be able to access healthcare? Would I even be allowed to stay in the UK?

I worry about my parents getting sick, and me needing to go take care of them; would I be allowed back into the country after a few months' absence?!

I worry about the government bringing in harsher immigration rules once the UK is out of the EU. What if I don't qualify anymore?

Would I ever be separated from my daughter and husband?

Now I am not so hopeful about the future anymore. I feel unwanted and unwelcome in a country in which I have lived, worked, paid taxes, supported local businesses and volunteered for 14 years. I don't know what the future holds for my family, but I now feel that I do not have a place here anymore and it breaks my heart."

Do you think the North East needs its own voice in the EU exit negotiations?

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