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7/2/17

Brexit Britain: falling pound, border fears and a frightened workforce

 A year after Britain voted to leave the EU the pound is at least ten percent weaker, the economy is shaky and may be headed for a downturn and Theresa May’s minority government is weak after losing its majority in parliament after June’s general election.

There’s also the worrying possibility that a hard border between Ireland and Northern Ireland could unravel the Good Friday Peace Agreement.

The uncertainty is infectious.

In her first policy position after the two year long Brexit negotiations started earlier this month, May set out her plan for the rights of the three million or so EU citizens living in the UK. They will only qualify for “settled” status after five consecutive years living in Britain.

But this has not gone far enough to reassure many EU officials including Guy Verhofstadt, the Brexit co-ordinator for the European Parliament.

A report by the consultancy firm Deloitte released on June 27th suggests that 47 percent of highly skilled EU workers are now considering leaving Britain.

One of them is Joana Ferreira, a dentist who works in a private practice on the outskirts of London, and who arrived from Portugal four and a half years ago.

“I’m just worried about the living conditions, really,” said Ferreira. “Am I going to be able to work? Am I going to get a normal salary, like everyone? Am I going to be kicked out of the country? I don’t know, nobody knows!”

Joana and her husband have a three year old daughter who was born in Britain and they had planned for her to grow up in the country.

“I just feel very insecure of what’s going to happen in the future. I really want to know more so I can plan. Because at the moment, I cannot plan anything in my life,” she said.

Joana’s employer Smita Mehra, the managing director of The Neem Tree practice, is also worried as 60 percent of the staff at the four practices she manages are non-British EU nationals.

Read more: Brexit Britain: falling pound, border fears and a frightened workforce | Euronews

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