My Multicultural London
I’m a Hungarian living in the UK. I’m married to an English man and we have two small children born here, in London. When I moved to London, I was completely blown away by how diverse and liberal this city is. I felt like I’m in my element. I felt I’m welcomed. I thought I belong here. I moved to London from Ibiza, where I lived for a few years along with lot of other like- minded Europeans. Before that, I used to live in Australia, another country famous about its multiculturalism. I always considered myself as a citizen of the world. So, here was I, in the melting pot, finding everything I was looking for. But then Brexit happened.
I’m sorry, what has just happened?
When we woke up (after not much of sleep that night) on the morning after the Brexit referendum and we learnt about the results, to say that we were completely shocked is an understatement. Just couldn’t believe it. We’re still in some sort of a denial and many of our friends are in the same shoes. We still feel depressed, disempowered and frustrated. I might be a bit silly, but deep down I hope, that it can be somehow reversed.
Personally, I know only one or two people who voted out. One of them (a middle aged guy in the tennis club) said to me, that he voted out “because Britain is not the same as in his childhood”. Saying this as stuffing his face with the curry made in a fantastic curry house run by a pakistani family. And he visits his retired friends in Spain every summer. I’m sorry mate, but your vote and the hazy childhood nostalgia will not bring the past back, because, you know, that’s the nature of time. It passes.
I have a lot of foreign friends here and for months we didn’t stop talking about our fears like the rising inequality, racism and intolerance, loosing the free movement and link to Europe (we all travel often), that our livelihood is at risk (we work in London, and our jobs depend on the current economic relations with the EU). Above all: will this get to the point where we have to leave the UK?
What to do next?
As things were (and still are) so uncertain, we decided that I should apply for citizenship. I don’t believe in the wait and see approach. Lot of other people I know and originally from an EU country opted for this. But there are so many clashing information available online about how to apply and what are my entitlements. So we made a call, using Talk Tax to find the right place to find all the contact numbers related to naturalisation. (Naturalisation is the most common way to become a British citizen.)
Current requirements for EU citizens
EU citizens who, by 29 March 2019, have been continuously and lawfully living in the UK for five years will be able to apply to stay indefinitely by getting ‘settled status’. Also, EU citizens (and their family members in the UK) are required to apply to get their status document, which will provide evidence that they have permission to continue living and working in the UK.
This is a collaborative post.