As politicians negotiate and UK Border Agency staff prepare for what might come next, those who came here for new lives, jobs and even family share their fears over Brexit

'I was a bit p***** off about the whole thing'

Noelia Yusta, 42, lived in UK for 17 years

"Following Brexit, I was a bit p***** off about the whole thing. I don't think that people had enough information, and I think that people don't really know what's going to happen. No one knows, not even the people who are negotiating. When they're talking about a deal, what is that deal?

"I was waking up every two hours looking at my phone to follow the results. So when they said we're going ahead with Brexit, I elbowed my husband and said: it's happening. He looked at me and said, what are you talking about? I said, it is happening, and we're out. I cried, because I felt completely betrayed. All of a sudden, the mask fell off. The face of the country was saying, we don't want you here and we don't want to be in the whole EU. I couldn't believe it.

"I have been swinging left to right, not being sure what the future is for Europeans as a whole. For my case, my son was born here, and I think we're okay. The line of work that I have, we always have it sorted in the UK. We are working closely with the Scottish government, because I work in public health.

"Some people say to me, what are you going to do when Brexit comes? You're going to have to quit or leave the UK. I say, do you know what I'm going to do? I'm going to make a lot of money, because you will need me because you won't have people and I will raise my price. And if you want to export anything to the EU, you are going to have to pay me whatever I want."

'For EU citizens Brexit is like being told to sit in the back of a van which is taking you somewhere you didn’t want to go'


Nikolett Barra, 36, financial administrator, lived in UK for 10 years

"Brexit - a word which I laughed at first and now it just makes me shiver. I fail to understand why anyone in their right mind would head towards this much uncertainty. Is power more important than the people? People give you the power if you allow them to do so.

"I was not allowed a say in this huge change, I was not allowed to vote about my own future, purely because I do not hold the right kind of passport.

"For EU citizens Brexit is like being told to sit in the back of a van which is taking you somewhere you didn’t want to go. Would it be such a terrible thing to apply the brake pedal, stop for a second and admit that the GPS coordinates we entered two years ago were wrong? Decisions can still be respected without driving off the cliff."

'Imagine finding yourself being asked to apply for the right to remain in your house' 


Vera Kempe, 56, professor, lived in UK for 18 years

"The moral fallacy of Brexit is that people like me, who came under the correct(!) assumption that they are perfectly within their rights to settle here suddenly find themselves treated as 'the other' by the predominant media discourse.

"Imagine you had moved within the Union of British nations from, say, Devon to Dundee, and suddenly - by some unforeseeable twist of political events - find yourself being asked to apply for the right to remain in your house, your job and with your family. Wouldn’t you perceive such a retroactive change of status as a grave injustice?

"The saddest part is this: While I as an EU citizen retain my right to move freely across the 27 member states my Scottish friends, colleagues, students and family members will loose this right. This to me is the biggest tragedy of all."

'Scotland is not able to shelter us from all that comes out of Westminster'


Trudy Duffy, 62, shop owner, lived in UK for 11 years

I am a mother, wife, shopkeeper, community councillor, volunteer and neighbour. I am Dutch. Which is why I have been having nightmares for the last 2 ½ years. Will I have to sell my business? Will I be able to access the NHS? Will I be able to vote? Do I want to stay in the UK?

I will shrivel a little the first time someone asks me whether I have the right to access the NHS or such. Scotland may be less hostile to foreigners than the rest of the UK but Scotland is not able to shelter us from all that comes out of Westminster. After Windrush, can we trust the Home Office to get it right with us EU nationals?

Folk keep telling me that this is not about people like me. But it is: it is about your family, your shopkeepers, your volunteers and your neighbours."

'I am supposed to get married in 2020 ... I'm not sure I'll be allowed to stay in the country until then'


Jérémie Fernandes, 33, college librarian, lived in UK for 4 years

The fact is I don’t know how Brexit will affect me. And neither do the UK government or the EU leaders, because none of these questions have been answered, 101 days before Brexit. It's very apparent now that it'll be a no-deal Brexit.

From a professional point of view, Brexit is obviously very worrying. I have built a career here, I am responsible for a college library and I am on the board of the professional body for librarians in Scotland (CILIPS). I am not on a permanent contract and I am not even sure that my employer will be able to renew my contract if I have to get a VISA. Many Further and Higher Education institutions like mine (UHI) are dependent on EU funding, so I am very worried about the future of colleges and universities in Scotland once the EU money is withdrawn.

From a personal point of view, it’s even worse, I am supposed to get married in April 2020 to a Scot. I am not even sure I’ll be allowed to stay in the country until then. My partner doesn’t speak French so heading back to France is a non-starter.

'It will take decades to erase the damage'


Patrice Fabien, 62, solicitor, lived in UK for 42 years

"Brexit is the most selfish political act a nation has sought fit to impose on its citizens, at home and abroad, and on EU citizens living in the UK. It is no exaggeration to say that the noxious political and social narrative from the very top of British society – some of whom should know better given their ethnic backgrounds and religious beliefs – have disturbed me in ways I had never thought I would feel or experience.

"For the first time in my life, I have had to face up to the fact that my country of origin has been enough to deprive me of rights I believed were inalienable – through no fault of my own and with no action required on my part.

"It will take decades to erase the damage, in human terms, what a handful of people has imposed from what is nothing more than a passing whim."

'Does Theresa May not realise those of us who have applied for British citizenship will have vote in next general election?'


Bregje van Veelen, 31, researcher, lived in UK for 12 years

"The day after the Brexit referendum I was in shock, with no idea what to expect. To tackle the uncertainty I started the process to 'Brexit-proof' myself almost straight away. I applied for a Registration Certificate, Residence Card, and ultimately British Citizenship.

"To be honest, it feels somewhat bittersweet: to have become a British citizen at a time where EU citizens are increasingly made to feel like 'others'. I now feel more secure, although my job prospects are uncertain (my research is funded by the EU). I also worry for EU citizens here whose road to settled status or citizenship is more challenging, as well as for British nationals (especially those with EU partners) and their ability to move to the continent if they ever wanted or needed to.

"One final thing I don't fully understand is the government's outward hostility towards EU citizens, such as Theresa May's ‘queue-jumping’ comment. Do they not realise that those of us who have applied for British citizenship will all have a vote in the next general election too?"

'My greatest concern is the future of the NHS'


Alessio Albanese, 34, researcher, lived in the UK for nine years

"Although it is hard to fully comprehend what Brexit will entail, it does not sound auspicious at all. I do not mean this solely from a personal perspective as a EU citizen, but also from a societal perspective. It is now clear that Brexit is not going to be the idyllic tale they wanted people to believe.

"As I write, the government is stepping up preparations for a no-deal. This eventuality would, without a doubt, present serious and long lasting negative consequences, which will be detrimental for the whole of society both in the short and long term.

"My greatest concern is related to the NHS and its future. As a researcher in Public Health, I feel strongly about universal health care free at the point of access, and I am at best dubious that this is a priority for the current government’s post-Brexit plans."

'Brexit has brought in a sense of rejection'


Professor Simone Baglioni, 47, professor, lived in UK for nine years

"Professionally for me Brexit opens up a period of great uncertainty given that my research activities have been primarily funded by EU money: it is not clear yet if UK academics will be eligible for EU funding at the same conditions they are now. Moreover, for me research is a collective or group experience that has to go across country borders: being exposed to the variety of diversity of cases and situations we have in Europe is a great form of learning. I could not imagine keeping doing research without being exposed to such diversities and to European research networks and communities.

"Personally, for someone like me that deeply believes in Europe and feels as a European citizen, Brexit has brought in a sense of rejection, like if the community that hosted me at some point decided I was not welcome anymore. It's a hard feeling to bear with."

'My wife and I joked about the UK "pulling a Trump"'


Erik Meyer, 32, assistant manager of university, lived in UK for 13 years

"Brexit came as a complete shock to me in June 2016. The night before the vote, me and my wife had joked about the UK “pulling a Trump” and voting out but when the result was announced my heart sank and it has remained down in the pit of my stomach since as I’ve watched with horror how it has all panned out.

"One of the first things the Government said was we would be fine and nothing would change, yet over 2 years later I am facing a loss of rights through the Governments “settled status” and I very much fear for my future here despite having been here legally since 2005. My pension, my right to work, my access to the NHS, and what status my future children will have all weigh heavily on me.

"My future here is now uncertain and I’m thinking of leaving."

'It feels like a kick in the teeth'


Professor Martijn Steultjens, 46, professor, lived in UK for eight years

"Professionally, Brexit is a disaster for our international research. Even before Brexit has taken effect, we are already seeing less collaboration with our European colleagues due to uncertainties about continued funding and the freedom of movement of researchers between the EU and UK.

"Personally, it feels like a kick in the teeth. Brexit was “won” on a dislike of others and a disregard for facts, which for a non-British academic like me is impossible to understand or accept. I am very proud that my adopted home, Scotland, is different, but have lost all respect for what’s happening down south and the UK as an institution."

'I constantly wonder what the next day will bring'


Elina Dagdeleni, 28, media and communications officer, lived in UK for seven years

"I have spent the last seven years of my life in Scotland. I studied at Caledonian University in Glasgow, found full-time employment with Environmental Protection Scotland through the 2014 Commonwealth Games legacy scheme and have built a life and a home here.

"This whole situation makes me very anxious as I do not know if one day I will be requested to leave my job, home and my circle of friends. It makes me uncertain about my future and I constantly wonder what the next day will bring as Brexit approaches."

Brexit voices


Join in on Twitter @heraldscotland using #BrexitVoices or go to our Facebook page.

Are you an EU citizen from outwith the UK living in Scotland who supports Brexit? Let us know. Email