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With Brexit looming, Professor Nando Sigona, IRiS Deputy Director, captures some of the difficult dilemmas faced by EU nationals in an article for The Conversation. The article was also published in iNews and the Metro. 

There are an estimated 3.7 million EU nationals in the UK.  The study – EU families and Eurochildren in Brexiting Britain – led by Professor Nando Sigona, shows that for many of these EU citizens, the result of the EU referendum has meant a sudden and even shocking realisation of the fragility of their legal position in the UK. Others, instead, had already encountered the UK government’s 'hostile environment' and experienced being at the receiving end of the virulent anti-immigration rhetoric of some British newspapers. 

There are a range of economic, social and legal considerations, including fees, eligibility restrictions, and the right to dual nationality that may preclude EU nationals from applying for British citizenship. The Research Team also found that for those in the position to do it, it is rarely a decision that is taken lightly.  Many going through the process feel like the decision has been forced upon them by circumstances, and ultimately decided to apply with family and the future of their children at the forefront of their minds. 

The outcome of the EU referendum is tearing some EU families apart, uprooting children and parents, spreading them across borders, and forcing families to reconsider their future in the UK. Under these circumstances, becoming a British citizen is often a defensive move – for those who can afford the application fee – and a way for them to 'take back control' over their lives after years of uncertainty. 

Read the full article in The Conversation.