There is a misconception that Brexit forced Goans to move out of the UK or rather from the European countries, on the contrary, it multiplied the numbers almost four times. The number of Goans migrating to the UK was 7000 in the year 2012 which went upto four times in the year 2017 touching that figure to 28,000 and this shows that Brexit did not affect the migration of a Portuguese citizen from India.

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The United Kingdom (UK) decided to separate from the European Union (EU) and gave the shock to the entire world. The exit of UK from EU, by way of voting, is known as Brexit.

The Brexit took place in the year 2016 turning dreams of 3.2 million EU citizens across the country upside down, and the most affected community due this decision in the United Kingdom were the Goans, who are presently staying in EU countries with the help of Portuguese Passports. 

The Brexit created the feeling of uncertainty amongst the Goan community staying in the EU (European Union) countries. It sounded like they had left with no hope on their future prospects in UK and EU countries. 

Their day to day life also impacted adversely. Bankers became reluctant to advance the loans to EU citizens, and according to one of the surveys by Residential Householders, 20% of landlords were found reluctant to rent their homes to EU citizens.  

As things stand, if an agreement with the EU is reached by March 2019, all 3.2 million EU citizens legally in the United Kingdom will have the right to remain after the UK formally exits the EU and they could potentially bring family, provided that they are family members at the time of the withdrawal date.

The Goan staying in EU countries were referred to as ‘Bargaining chips’ in the press by the members of the government. Prime minister Theresa May herself stated in October 2017 that “we don’t know what’s going to happen” to EU nationals living in the UK if Brexit negotiators fail to reach a deal. Leaks coming from the government in August 2017 suggested that there would be a very restrictive approach to EU migration after March 2019.        

According to the report published by the Hindustan Times, The Office for National Statistics revealed that from 7,000 Portuguese citizens resident in Britain in 2012who were born in India, the figure has gone up to 28,000 in the year ending June 2017. Most of them have settled in London, Swindon and Leicester and most of them are Goans.    

It may be recalled that Portuguese nationality law allows people born before Goa’s liberation on December 19, 1961, and their children, to opt for its citizenship, which makes them citizens of the European Union and thus eligible to migrate, live and work in any of the 28 countries of the EU.

“There is some fear at the back of the mind due to Brexit, but that has not stopped more Goans from giving up Indian citizenship and applying for Portuguese nationality. The situation is bad in Goa, many don’t see a future there,” Aleixo Reginaldo Lourenco, the Congress MLA from Curtorim currently on a visit to London, told Hindustan Times.  

According to the reports, a recent joint report released by negotiators of the European Union and the UK shows that now there has been some progress on the issue of EU citizens, provided they are able to come to a deal on everything.

As things stand, if an agreement with the EU is reached by March 2019, all 3.2 million EU citizens legally in the United Kingdom will have the right to remain after the UK formally exits the EU and they could potentially bring family, provided that they are family members at the time of the withdrawal date. But in the event of no deal, we still don’t know what will happen to EU citizens.

While the government claims that negotiations are going well, chancellor Phillip Hammond, in his budget, set aside £3 billion to prepare for no deal.

The Brexit is getting closer by the day and soon there will be a day that will decide the fate of 3.2 million people living in the EU countries, but Goan seems to be strong on their stand about staying in the EU countries and UK.   

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