Nearly 65% of Europeans in the UK are confident that they will be able to stay in Britain after the country leaves the European Union. But almost 80% are convinced that the British government will not work in their interest. This is according to a survey carried out between August and September last year by a charity based in Scotland.
The research was done by Feniks Counselling, an organisation supporting Central Eastern Europeans, to understand how the EU referendum had influenced the well-being and future plans of EU nationals living in Britain. 657 people took part in the study. The majority were Polish (61.5%), followed by British (7.8%), Dutch (6.9%), German (4.9%) and Italian residents (4.1%). Most of them were based in Scotland (55.6%) and England (42.3%).
The majority said they felt home in the UK, but some comments revealed that that their sense of identity had suddenly changed with the EU referendum. Some said they were planning to leave.
“I realised that I am European more than I am British,” wrote one of the respondents. “Before the referendum I was quite happy here and thinking about a possible future. Now I feel far away from home and thinking about moving somewhere else,” said another. Overall, 57% felt less welcome in the UK after the vote.
Although the research was undertaken when media started to report about hate crimes, the vast majority of respondents said they felt safe in the UK (51.6% very safe and 35.6% quite safe).
Scotland came out as more welcoming than England, with more people calling it home (57% rated the statement between 8 and 10 as opposed to 34% in England) and fewer feeling less welcome after the vote (16% against 32% strongly agreeing with the statement). 90% of participants from Scotland felt safe or very safe compared to 82% in England.
Looking at the future, 70% worried about the consequences of the referendum. Concerns were especially about family separation, children’s future and having to apply for permanent residence or citizenship. 70% also said they are following politics “a great deal” or “quite a lot” after the referendum.
Would the results be the same if the survey were repeated today?
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