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‘They feel rejected’: how Germans in Britain are dealing with the Brexit vote

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About 300,000 Germans call the UK home and numerous work in highly skilled occupations. But some say their foreignness is now an issue

Nicole Janz has lived in the UK since 2009. She completed a PhD at Cambridge, got married and had a daughter before settling in the city and becoming an assistant professor at Nottingham University. Janz and her husband are among the 300,000 Germans living in the UK, a information they have become acutely aware of since 23 June.

Janz recalls an incident at a neighbourhood inn after the Brexit vote that prompted her that her accent marks her out from the crowd.

After prescribing a brew, the barmaid told her off for failing to acknowledge traditional English remarks. She was bluntly told: We say please and thank you here in Great britain. For Janz it was indicative of a changed atmosphere after the referendum. Maybe I didnt guild in the most friendly channel, but things like this never ever happened to me before, she withdraws. I am more frequently reminded of the fact that I am a foreigner.

Nicole
Nicole Janz and her family. Im more frequently reminded of the fact Im a native. Picture: Family Handout

Germans are one of the top 10 groups of migrants in the UK behind the Irish and ahead of Americans. For many who settled in Britain long before the campaign to leave the EU reaped steam, the result of the voting rights feels like a personal slight against Europeans.

They feel kind of insulted, says Ulrich Storck, head of the Friedrich Ebert Stiftung in London, educational institutions connected with the Social Democratic party( SPD) in Germany. Those people have strived to get closer to the British for decades and now feel rebuffed.

Renate Dietrich-Karger, a German who has lived six months of the year at her Scottish home for the past three decades, concurs. It felt as if a close relative just died, she says. Jewish relatives of quarry fled to the UK to escape the Nazis. I came to the UK for the first time in 1965 and at that time it was to me the territory of hope and exaltation. But a lot has changed since then and I am increasingly worried by the willingness to abhor parties from a different background and to express this openly.

In Scotland, which voted overwhelmingly to remain, the SNP has attempted to reach out to EU captains immediately, circumventing Downing Street and reminding Europeans they have an ally north of the English border.

German sightseers are a very important group for the Scottish tourist sector, Angus Robertson, deputy ruler of the SNP says. The MP, whose baby is German, is friendly with German legislators such as David McAllister, a former state premier from Angela Merkels Christian Democratic party( CDU ), and is determined to fight for Scotland to remain in the EU.

Labours Gisela Stuart, who is also German, was a passing campaigner for Brexit, arguing Britain needed to take back control of migration, swap, taxation and right.

Her own status as a European immigrant propelled her into the prominence in the run-up to the vote. But while it was used as an asset by Vote Leave before 23 June, it has previously been realized her a target.

Stuart demands she has been called a turncoat by EU allies in the UK and abroad. I never received abuse in the United Kingdom for being German, she says, but I now receive it from Germany by people who tell me its in pursuit of being good Europeans.

Meanwhile, neither remainers nor leavers have been able to offer guarantees on how Brexit will affect Europeans already living in the UK, or those arriving after the estimated leave year in 2019.

Many Germans who have come to Britain in the last 20 times are highly skilled and taught. More than 5,000 teach and research at British universities, manufacturing them the most difficult group of overseas professors in the UK. An additional 3,000 Germans work as the physicians and medical staff in the NHS.

Oliver Cramer, deputy medical head at the Isle of Wight NHS trust, is one of them. Cramer came to the UK in 2003 with his Greek spouse, who is also a doctor. The couple have been living and is currently working on the island since and never was almost like immigrants, until June.

Nearly 70% of Isle of Wight voters backed leave. There are people who tell us its good-for-nothing personal as we were useful immigrants, Cramer says before delaying. Useful And where reference is retire here in 20 times, are we no longer useful?

Michaela Frye is similarly useful. A senior researcher at the department of genetics at the University of Cambridge, she has lived in the UK for 15 years and was disheartened by the outcome of the referendum.

Gisela
Gisela Stuart touring the country for Vote Leave incidents before the referendum. Photograph: Christopher Furlong/ Getty Images

Although in Cambridge roughly three-quarters of citizens have voted in favour of remain, Frye says a subtle brand-new antagonism has arisen there as well. Her son attends an independent British school with a high percentage of international kinfolks. Numerous parents told her neighbours were asking them when they would leave.

But where is home after 15 times in the UK? She says: I feel European. Thats what all my work is about. And now what? Get lost?

She is worried that Brexit could severely harm her experiment. The laboratory where she and the 10 the representatives of her team work is 50% funded under the EU. If that money dried up, she would have to rely entirely on the National Research Fund, which would struggle to match the value of EU curricula. As a cause, Frye is looking for positions in Germany. She is not the only one.

Janzs husband was offered a position in Berlin recently and the couple are considering returning to Germany. Their British peers am worried that an exodus of foreign talent could leave key institutions struggling to cope.

Brexit hasnt represented it easier for us, Cramer says, adding that his hospital could be reach if Europeans leave the UK. Up to 30% of medical doctors in his hospital are non-British. We have 89 people working here and weve had parties give the axe and all those people who decided not to come.

The main reason was the uncertainty. If you come here and bring your family you dont want to move after two years.

Like many other Germans, Cramer applied for permanent residencyimmediately after the referendum as a precaution. Europeans living in Britain currently do not need the card, but applications are expected to surge amid ongoing skepticism over EU citizens status in the UK.

Meanwhile, an increasing number of Britons with German ancestors are applying for German passports. The German delegation in London says there has been a significant rise in solicits since the voting rights, primarily for passports, citizenship and social insurance.

Abraham, a British citizen with a German surname, applied for a German passport a couple of weeks ago. The PhD student works in Cyprus, where he grew up. A German passport allows me to keep my administrative European identity, as I identify with Europe, he says.

Stuart is convinced that Britains borders wont change. I came here 40 decades ago. I live in Birmingham where you have second and third generations. You is also difficult find a more open country.

Whether 300,000 Germans will agree with her by 2019 remains to be seen.

Anna Lehmann is a political correspondent at the Berlin-based daily newspaper taz.die tageszeitung, and currently works in the Guard parts on the George Weidenfeld bursary, an international columnists exchange programme

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