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amber rudd
Photo: Department of Energy and Climate Change (flickr); Licence: CC BY-ND 2.0 - Amber Rudd, Home Secretary of the United Kingdom

Having been an EU migrant in the UK for almost the majority of my life, Britain’s Brexit aftermath never ceases to torment me. Since the UK voted to leave the European Union on the 23rd of June, it has been dominating European headlines, with more and more controversial content. The unexpected outcome of the Brexit referendum shocked people across Europe and the globe, despite exit polls having already pointed to this result – nobody wanted to believe the turn that the UK was about to take. With cries and promises for curbs on immigration by Home Secretary Amber Rudd and Prime Minister Theresa May, my anxiety for the future in a country I was so used to calling my second home has been growing. The truth is, we can discuss the growing xenophobic, racist comments permeating the Conservatives’ rhetoric for days, but what does this all actually mean for migrants in the UK?

Published in Sixth Sense
Thursday, 05 November 2015 18:36

Am I a threat to the German way of life?

Biergarten
Photo: Peter Alfred Hess; Licence: CC BY 2.0

In the face of increasing calls for limits to be placed on EU migrants in her home country, E&M's Frances Jackson, a Brit based in Germany, wonders if she too is a burden on the state.

For the last four years, I have been living in a country that is not my own.  I wasn't born here.  I didn't grow up speaking the language.  And if you stopped me on the street, I probably wouldn't – apart from a provisional UK driving licence that expires in 2017* – even have any proper ID on me, as I worry about losing my passport, so prefer not to carry it around every day.   

Don't tell anybody, but I am one of those EU migrants you've heard so much about.  I came to Germany – in part, at least – for the cheap higher education and have stayed firmly put since then, going as far as to secure myself a PhD scholarship in the process.

As Europe witnesses the largest wave of mass migration since the end of the Second World War, and anti-foreigner rhetoric continues to rise around us, creeping steadily into the political mainstream, I have been giving a lot of thought to my own status as a sort of "economic migrant".  Does my presence pose a threat to the German way of life?  Am I putting unsustainable pressure on the country's infrastructure?  And if not, why not?

Published in Contentious Europe
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