My Dutchman and ‘Me’

I met and married my lovely Dutchman in the late 80s. When we returned from our honeymoon a small envelope containing an even smaller letter from the Home Office announced that, as my Dutchman had married a British national, "should our marriage subsist for 12 months" he would be granted 'residency status'. All he had to do was inform the Netherlands Embassy of his address whenever we moved.

When our daughter arrived she was added to both our passports and we brought up our daughter with dual nationality, by way of Dutch and British passports. When she reached 25 she had to choose which passport to retain, as Dutch law no longer allows dual nationality. No problem with FOM in the EU a British passport would allow her the freedom to live / study across Europe. My husband didn't renounce his Nationality, he is Dutch, his very large family who we visit regularly, are all in Holland, as are many friends!

He just happened to fall in love with the UK and me.

Except for the occasional moan from me when he was late telling the Embassy his new address, we didn't consider our nationalities in any way other than positives.

My Dutchman has always paid tax, for a long time at the highest rate. We have always owned our own home and have paid off our mortgage. He has never claimed any form of benefit, even during a summer of redundancy. He is chairman of the Parish Council, volunteers with the canal restoration society and has trained as a skipper to ferry people on the canal boat on sunny days. He has retired early, as he and I have saved and planned for this.

THEN THE BREXIT VOTE HAPPENED.

We live in a rural area with a high leave vote. Friends voted leave not thinking what that could mean because immigrants are always other people aren't they?

My Dutchman's "residency status" no longer exists, and we dont know what will replace it and what restrictions it will have. He has never been able to vote in a GE and couldnt vote in the Referendum although he is one of the 3 million+ people who could be hurt the most.

The day after the referendum our daughter rang from University in tears, asking if "Daddy was going to be deported?" The answer is still we dont know. We have no documentation that says he is a resident. He has a NI number and a tax code and me. Is that enough? He has lived in this country for 35 years is that enough?

The most horrifying thing is how the English (and it is not the whole UK) decide who they will hit out at. Dislike the Polish but French are okay? Dislike the Spanish but Dutch are okay? Brexit has revealed the worst side of our country and highlighted the randomness of prejudice and xenophobia.

BJ

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