Romanians in the UK and the referendum on EU membership

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Romanian immigrants settled in the UK look forward to the outcome of the referendum on the country’s EU membership, given that an exit from the bloc would affect the status of Europeans on British territory.

About three million citizens from other EU countries, including hundreds of thousands of Romanians, live in the UK. Poles are the most numerous about 800,000, followed by the Irish (383,000) and Germans (301,000).

Romanians living in Britain are divided regarding the effects of the referendum on Thursday, but most say they will manage to survive even if the UK will leave the European Union, mediafax.ro reports.

“If they will vote for an exit, there will be at least ten years of uncertainty, both for the UK and for the foreign citizens. This country does not produce anything, export is almost zero. (…) The pound will appreciate because all areas will be based on domestic production. Tourism will suffer due to visas,” says Laura Iancu, a young student who lives in Cardiff. “I am sure that the UK will not exit the EU. All Brits I spoke with will vote against. They think it would be ineptitude,” said Laura Iancu.

As for the direct effects of a possible exit from the EU, she added: “It will affect me financially, I could not open my own business, I will not benefit from health insurance. I will have to work on the black market. And, if it happens, I’ll try to adapt to the new rules as long as I study here and then I’m going to pack my luggage and go in a country where my rights are respected,” she added.

“The chances for the UK to leave the EU are about 50%, according the Brexit opinion polls. I hope it will remain in the EU, otherwise Europe will be under pressure from other sides,” a Romanian-born British citizen says.

“The probability of leaving the EU is very high, given the polls so far. I do not know if I will enjoy the Brexit or not. I don’t care. I believe I shall not be affected. If you have the necessary documents, then you will not be affected by the decision,” says Oana D., 30, who lives in the UK for several years.

“The UK exit from the EU seems to me, first of all, just a political game between the two camps, each one struggling to gain power,” says Marius C., a 28-year-old Romanian settled in Birmingham. “If they exit, depending on what conditions they would request, I shall look ahead. Anyway, they cannot send me home from one day to another. I have a signed contract, I have a position here, I pay taxes and they are not few, so it may take some time to get rid of an immigrant like me. As I came here, I can leave anytime, anywhere. It’s not the greatest place in the world, in any case,” he added.

On the other hand, Codruţa Filip, 28, who lives in a small town southeast of London, estimated that the UK’s exit from the EU would be a positive thing “as long as we, the ones who live here and we are already working here, will not be much affected. We may have to fill out some forms, but the change will be quite slow, so it will not be an obstacle for me.”

Marius H., a 30-year-old Romanian who lives in Hereford in western England, believes that “both the pros and cons the Brexit will vote having only limited information about the consequences … As in all countries, regardless of the elections, the real issues are not discussed.”

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