"Shut out of my own country as a direct result of Brexit"

18 July 2017

This story was sent to us by Ben Carlin, a UK citizen who resides in Belgium with his family.

"As a British citizen living in Belgium (where I have been working since 1997) with my German wife and our child, currently we could all move "back" to the UK at any time (for work reasons, family reasons, or any other reason) with no problem (even though my wife has never lived in the UK before).

However, after Brexit it could become much more difficult for me to bring my German wife with me to come and live in the UK. Probably I would have to find a job first (even if she could find one more easily) and be earning above a certain amount for however many months/years. Or I would have to get a UK passport for our child and then bring a human rights case before the courts - which could be time-consuming and expensive. In the worst case, I could end up having to stay in Belgium for the rest of my life, just so I can live with my wife and child. Shut out of my own country as a direct result of Brexit!

So my problem falls into the "fear" category. In principle I am eligible for Belgian citizenship and so I can stay on the continent as long as I want. However, my mother is 75 years old and lives on her own in Northumberland. Post-Brexit, it would be very difficult for me to decide one day that I wanted to move back to the UK, so that I could see my mum more often (even every day, if this became necessary for health reasons). This is because my wife is German, and so after Brexit we would have no automatic right to go and live in the UK as a couple (with our child or children).

My fear is confirmed by reading this blog: http://blogs.lse.ac.uk/brexit/2017/05/25/the-interregnum-11-years-without-free-movement-from-1962-to-1973/

I think this issue could be of interest to the European Parliament because it concerns the rights of EU citizens from the EU-27 countries (like my wife) who have married (and started families with) EU citizens from the UK.

My wife will lose her right to live in the UK, even though her husband (myself) and our child (or children) are all British nationals, who are eligible to live in the UK. This obviously impacts our whole family in a negative way.

From my mother's point of view, her son will be "trapped" on the continent with his German wife and their (British/German) child, unable to return to the UK without jumping though lots of hoops."

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

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