Home Uncategorized Brexodus? UK expats in Belgium “will not be leaving any time soon.” 

Brexodus? UK expats in Belgium “will not be leaving any time soon.” 

by EUToday Correspondents
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Brexodus
Brexodus: most UK citizens who have already been in Belgium a few years say that they “will not be leaving any time soon.” That is one of the messages to emerge from a wide ranging survey of British expats who live and work in Belgium.

The survey was the culmination of a two-year project, funded by the EU’s Brexit Adjustment Reserve.

The findings state that:

  • Almost half say that Brexit made it more likely they will stay in Belgium and 39% say Brexit made them less likely to return to the UK.
  • “Worryingly”  not all UK citizens seem to be aware of the limitations of Belgium’s M-Card scheme.
  • Some UK citizens sometimes complain of “incoherent information, bad treatment” from public officials and discrimination on the labour market.
  • UK citizens arriving since the end of the transition period say they are treated like all “third-country nationals”, and they are worried about paperwork.
  • Nevertheless, Brussels remains an “open and welcoming place for UK citizens to build careers, homes and families”.
  • The report says there was no “Brexodus” from Brussels after Brexit, but over 2,500 UK citizens in Brussels have become Belgian since the referendum.

It says the UK citizen population in Brussels remained steady during the negotiations and transition period, but is now falling as annual immigration drops by 70%.

Despite Brexit, the UK citizen population in Brussels and Belgium is still “in the thousands”, it says, “be they dual nationals, M-Card holders, third country nationals or visitors.”

The report, “This is still your home – Brexit impact scan for UK citizens in Brussels” – combines population data, survey responses and observations from the two-year project in an effort to offer an assessment of the consequences of Brexit for UK citizens in Brussels.

The study was conducted by the Expat Welcome Desk of the Commissioner for Brussels.

A spokesman said, “It does not claim to be a rigorous scientific study but, rather, offers a snapshot of a community in flux and the administrative challenges they face.”

Brussels Commissioner for Europe and International Organisations, Alain Hutchinson, whose father was British, said, “Let’s be clear: Belgium and the UK are close neighbours but the rules have changed.”

He warns that a “sharp Brexodus” – which would see significant numbers of British nationals leaving Belgium – “would damage the economic and social fabric” of Brussels.

To stop this he calls for  “awareness raising initiatives and individual support” for UK citizens” to help them “navigate this new landscape and establish a lasting foothold in Brussels”.

Brexit Shambles

Read also:

Brexit Shambles: even Nigel Farage now admits Brexit “has failed”

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