On Saturday 5th January 2019, Elena Remigi founder of the In Limbo Project spoke with Matt Stadlen on LBC Radio to talk about the uncertainty facing EU citizens living in the UK and the stress it is putting on them.
Here is Elena’s call:
Here is a transcript of the call:
Matt: 03456060973 Now before I come back to your calls on that EU nationals living here have reported feeling suicidal as the prospect of that no deal brexit appears increasingly likely and they are left uncertain perhaps about their future in the country that of course they also call home. Well I am joined by the founder of In Limbo which is a project collating the testimonies of EU nationals living in the UK Elena Remigi. A very good afternoon to you Elena.
Elena: Good afternoon.
Matt: What sort of numbers are we talking about here? That is very alarming.
Elena: We have had an increasing number of people showing signs of depression. Saying they have had panic attacks and near Christmas we had some posts of people saying on Facebook that they felt suicidal to the point that we always keep now the numbers of Samaritans at hand because we want to make sure they are not left alone. So it is just the result of this prolonged uncertainty and some people have made maybe financial commitments. Some people are vulnerable. If you are stuck in a wheelchair or if you are an elderly person or if you live for instance in a Leave area and you struggle maybe to go out and you are Eastern European or so. Having to live through that for days, for months, and now it is two and a half years has an effect on your health and of the health also of the people who surround you. I am sure that children are affected as well as spouses. So we have seen the number increasing and the amount of people really showing signs of exhaustion.
Matt: What words of reassurance do you have for EU citizens because they are not going to be booted out even if we leave under a no deal brexit?
Elena: Well, it is very hard to give reassurance because it is not clear and we live under the hostile environment. So people fear they will become the next Windrush generation and that is a genuine fear. We also know that settled status will be implemented through secondary legislation not through primary. So changes are very easy to make. People say well if other documents will be requested what if lots of people don’t have main documents. For instance, if you are a spouse dependent you are married to a Brit. Now all of a sudden you think OK how do I prove that I have lived in this country for 30, 40, 50 years? So it is really hard to reassure them when you have few certainties.
Matt: So what would your message be then to the British government to make absolutely sure that we are not looking at a Windrush generation scandal mark 2?
Elena: Yes, my message is ring fence our rights now. Give us that certainty. Allow us to stay because we cannot. Our rights have been removed retrospectively and that is what is causing huge alarm. So if our rights are ring fenced I think we can carry on living with the certainty that we won’t be booted out of this country we call home.
Matt: Elena Remigi thank you very much for joining us. She is the founder of In Limbo which is the project collating the testimonies of EU nationals living in the UK. The government in my view has to do absolutely everything it can entirely to reassure EU nationals living here because we can see the consequences or some of the consequences potentially of not doing precisely that.