It has been a year since the British parliament refused *again* to unilaterally guarantee EU citizens’ rights, which was, among others, the starting point for this site. Brexit seems more of a mess than ever and the citizens’ rights for Europeans in the UK and the Brits in the EU still have not been guaranteed.
Along with much of the world, we have been closely following the advancing negotiations between the British government and the EU27. There has been progress, however a looming chance of a “no deal” path puts the painstakingly negotiated rights proposal at risk. The government has lost its majority, following a snap election earlier this year, the ministers are regularly seen fighting with each other rather than securing “the best possible deal”, few politicians seem to take into consideration repeated warnings on the serious harm Brexit will cause to the country, stubbornly sticking with the slim referendum majority rather than common sense.
Us, Poles, are in a uniquely disadvantaged position. In the UK we have no guarantees of any rights if we want to stay; the legal process of obtaining proof of permanent residency has been stalled by the sheer number of applications to the Home Office. Right now all we can do is sit and wait. Should we want to go back to Poland, we will be greeted by an even more unstable political situation, potential violations of our human rights and a risk of higher taxes in our first year. To say we are between a rock and a hard place seems an understatement.
Perhaps this is why the seemingly surprising news is that in spite of the Brexit instability, the number of Poles in the UK has risen. Against earlier predictions and many migrants deciding to leave uncertainty behind, there are more of us in the UK than ever before.