So far we have seen an increase in the demand for legal advisors, doubts and instability among workers and volunteers, and an increase in hate crimes against immigrants. In other words, Brexit has presented a challenge for migrant communities.
Nahir de la Silva
The result of the UK Referendum, on the 23rd June, in which a 52% majority decided to leave the European Union created tensions, instability and uncertainty among the approximate 2.9 million Europeans who live and work in the UK.
The “Brexit” effect (its English abbreviation stemming from the words ‘Britain’ and ‘Exit’) has been felt immediately amongst the UK’s Latin American community, since a large percentage of the 250,000 Latin Americans who reside here have come from a European country.
Some first research has been carried out about this second migration flow from Europe to the UK by Queen Mary University in the reports titled “No longer invisible” and “Towards Visibility”.
According to the second report, 80% of people moved from Latin America to Spain and from there, on to the UK. Whilst 10% came from Italy and a smaller number from Portugal. European citizenship granted these migrants the right to live and work in the UK.
Nothing has officially changed. The British government has not triggered the separation process by invoking article 50 of the European Union Treaty. Negotiations have not been started.
However, the uncertainty and worry has spread into the Latin American community, who are looking to prepare for an unknown future. As a result, Brexit has had an important impact on CLAUK (Coalition of Latin Americans in the UK) member organisations.
On the one hand, an increase has been identified in the demand for legal advisors.
Brexit also generated the same doubts and instability among workers and volunteers. Likewise, as the European Union represents an important financial source for the voluntary sector, the referendum could see opportunities close for many projects.
A particularly alarming situation is the rise in hate crimes against immigrants, as it is suspected that the number does not reflect the total number of cases.
This situation poses a challenge for migrant communities, their families and the organisations that provide services, support, and defend their rights.
However, it is important to remember that there is still a lot to be defined concerning the way in which this majority decision will be implemented.
The Latin American community can join collective initiatives that defend the rights of migrant communities and therefore influence this process. This will be the challenge for CLAUK and for its organisations.
*Nahir de la Silva: Advocacy and Campaigns Coordinator of Coalition of Latin Americans in the UK
Photos: Pixabay – (Translated by Claire Donneky – Email: firstname.lastname@example.org)