Brexit Testimonies

10 September 2019

Robert in Spain

"We feel that we are being penalised for living the European dream and especially in the case of our daughter."

This note describes the effects of Brexit on my daughter who was born in England and came to Spain when she was 2 years old.

First my family situation: The family is made up of three; my wife, my daughter, now aged 35, and myself. We are all of British nationality and came to Spain with my work in 1985 spending a three-year period in between in Brussels. Since 1985 I have paid taxes and contributions to the social security in Spain and am now a pensioner receiving a pension from Spain and the UK.

When we first came to Spain thought we would stay for around 2 years but as circumstances would have it, there was a demand for more projects were and my wife and I are still here.

We decided from the beginning that we would like our daughter to learn Spanish and we put her into a guardería (kindergarten). As our time here was extended, she continued through the Spanish education system, gaining her degree from a Spanish university.

She had various part time and full-time jobs before joining a company based in Madrid. She owns a small flat in Madrid. However, when the company closed their Madrid base and she was transferred to Rome and later when the Rome base closed, she was moved to Venice where she currently lives and works. She has lived in Italy for over 5 years.

With the results of the Brexit referendum we decided to apply for Spanish nationality which we have recently had granted but as our daughter was not resident here, she could not, so she applied for Italian citizenship. She is culturally and emotionally Spanish. Most of her friends are here. Her links to the UK are minimal. The only thing she doesn’t have is a passport.

What are the main issues facing her?

  1. She has a British passport but as she always says with corazón español. Her home is in Spain and the possibility exists that there will be restrictions on her options to live here in the future, which is her wish.
  2. She is concerned about the situation which could arise if she were to lose her job before she was given Italian nationality, in which case she would want to return to her home in Spain and in the case of a no deal Brexit she might find it difficult to get back.
  3. Applications for Italian citizenship are taking 4 years to resolve so Brexit will probably happen before she gets citizenship. 
  4. For her job it is vital that she has freedom of movement. She could be transferred anywhere in Europe. If free movement for British expats in the EU is not agreed, it would severely restrict her career opportunities and could mean that her options for returning home to Spain would be limited.

We are all convinced British Europeans and would have voted against Brexit if we had been allowed to, but we are concerned about our daughter’s status post Brexit. We feel that we are being penalised for living the European dream and especially in the case of our daughter.

Earlier testimony
Lauren in Finland
Later testimony
Susi in Italy
Related content

So we have to look after ourselves. We do not want to be forced to leave France.

Read Marcus' Brexit testimony.