The UK Home Office has told Monique Hawkins, who has a husband and two British children, that she does not have the right to British citizenship and must leave the country. This is the post-Brexit reality for millions of UK residents
“It’s as absurd as a Monty Python sketch”, Monique Hawkins told The Guardian. This Dutch woman will have to leave the UK, despite having lived there for 24 years and having two children and a husband, all of whom are of British nationality.
Worried by possible legal implications in the event of the UK leaving the EU, Hawkins had applied for permanent residency as a preliminary step to securing British nationality. The Home Office not only rejected her application for permanent residency, but sent her a letter telling her that her circumstances were irregular and that she should begin preparing to leave the country.
Among the documents required of her by the Home Office was her original passport. “In the letter that they sent me, they stated that I hadn’t included my original passport. I’d made a photocopy because my father died recently and I couldn’t be without my passport. I have to constantly travel back and forth to Holland to look after my mother, who is on her own”, she argued.
Strangely, the Home Office told her that she couldn’t discuss her case with anyone, but nobody contacted her or responded to her for months. So she decided to make a complaint. “I don’t believe there is any other business, organisation or even legal process in the world that would treat its customers/applicants/clients in this manner.”
Hawkins, who has worked as a software developer for 20 years, has now turned to the courts and the Dutch Prime Minister. “I never imagined I could be deported after having lived here for over half of my life”, concluded Hawkins.
Being married to a British citizen or having children of British nationality hasn’t helped, as current legislation in the UK does not consider automatic acquisition of nationality through marriage.
The story of Monique Hawkins highlights the practical difficulties faced by millions of EU citizens who will not retain the right to remain in the UK post-Brexit. The aerospace executive Lars Graefe, who has lived in the UK since 1988 and is now married to a British woman, received a similar letter from the Home Office in which they informed him of his irregular status in the country and the need to “remedy” his situation.