I am a British Citizen, but the ramifications of Brexit are potentially huge for me and my family.
My husband is a Dutch citizen, but he has lived, studied, worked and cared in the UK for seven years. Together we care for two disabled children.
I met Kayam in 2007 online, and we became very close. He had aspirations to move somewhere within the EU where he could fulfil his potential and build a solid life. We shared a lot of common interests, comforted each other and have forged a very strong relationship.
In 2010 he moved to the UK to study in Leeds for his Biomedical Sciences degree. His parents paid for his tuition, he made a home with myself and my older son, and we welcomed a younger son in 2012 together.
He then worked for a Medical Information company, paying his taxes and keeping his family afloat. We married in a British town hall last year. Shortly afterwards we made the difficult decision to both become full-time carers, as our younger son's needs became more severe.
He has very challenging behaviours, and sometimes needs the two of us to calm and console him, and keep him and other people safe. In the UK Carer's Allowance is awarded per person that needs full-time care, so we started to claim Carer's Allowance for each of our children to make sure they would both have a parent available if needed.
The rest of our needs are covered by benefits. It was a big loss from having a solid wage to depend on, but it has been worth it for the children, especially as we lack supportive family that understand autism.
We never had to question that our situation would become unstable, and the EU referendum result was a horrible shock. Kayam was denied the right to vote in the referendum, as he was not born here in the UK. He has paid into the system and contributed to society, but he was not treated as such.
Our sadness at the result of the vote was compounded by other families who voted Leave, and have refused to try and understand how difficult this makes our situation. Even as a full-time carer, Kayam and myself are classed as NEET, out of work or education.
Being on benefits means that at any time Kayam could have his right to live in the UK with his family rescinded, especially under the new “Settled Status” the government has proposed. We feel very vulnerable, and are considering moving to one of the EU countries in order to stay together, and to ensure our children get the best care for their needs.
Sadly the lack of support has left us feeling like we are unwelcome here, especially Kayam. We are incredibly sad at the poor treatment of other EU citizens here in the UK, both with their lack of security and with the rise in hate crimes against them. Also the lack of security for UK citizens abroad is unacceptable.
Brexit has been devastating for so many people, and like us they have endured a poor level of support and understanding. Our voices are with those in this campaign, and we urge those in power not to disregard us all.
Samantha and Kayam Raaphorst
Have a story you want to share? Please get in touch.