Brexit information session in Leicester well attended

The Dutch Embassy in the UK held a Brexit Information Session in Leicester on 30 October 2019. The meeting was very well attended, particularly by a large number of Dutch citizens of Somali descent. Leicester and Birmingham have large Somali-Dutch communities; when visiting these cities we reached out to our Somali contacts there to ensure the communities were explicitly invited.

Brexit information session in Leicester
Brexit information session in Leicester

Brexit tour through the UK

Since the Brexit referendum in 2016, the Dutch Embassy has held regular information sessions on the topic of Brexit. These sessions are intended to keep Dutch citizens living in the UK informed on the current state of affairs in regards to Brexit, and offer them an opportunity to ask questions on the impacts Brexit could have on them, and how to best prepare. Cities visited by the Embassy thus far include London, Birmingham, Manchester, Southampton, Edinburgh, Cardiff and Leicester.

Brexit uncertainties remain

After a warm welcome, the Dutch Ambassador Simon Smits summarised the current Brexit situation and the consequences for Dutch citizens in the UK: the UK was to leave the EU with a deal on the 31 October 2019, however, just before the session was held, the UK government agreed to a Brexit extension (‘flextension’) until 31 January 2020. They later announced a general election would be held in December. The extension does still offer the prospect of an orderly departure of the UK from the EU with a deal, but because of the election set for 12 December 2019 the uncertainties around Brexit will remain.

Registration for the EU Settlement Scheme

Attendees at the session were informed that in order to ensure EU citizens and their families can stay in the UK after it leaves the EU (in the case of both a ‘deal’ and a ‘no-deal’ Brexit) EU citizens and their non-EU family members living in the UK must register in the UK government’s EU Settlement Scheme. The deadline to apply in the case of ‘no-deal’ is 31 December 2020, or in the case of a ‘deal’ 30 June 2021.

Dual nationality for Dutch citizens

Many questions from the audience related to dual nationality. Dutch law only allows dual nationality in exceptional cases: Dutch nationals who voluntarily take another nationality, such as British, lose their Dutch nationality. As was anticipated during the information evening on 30 October, Dutch parliament passed a bill on 5 November that allows Dutch nationals in the UK the right to dual nationality – Dutch and British – only if Britain leaves the EU without a deal, and without sufficient protection for the rights of EU/Dutch citizens living in the UK. The moment the UK and EU make satisfactory arrangements on citizens’ rights post-Brexit, the law will be withdrawn. The proposed law is now with the Dutch Senate.

The roadshow continues

Some 50 individuals attended the event in person and dozens more viewed it via the livestream on the Embassy’s Facebook page. A recording of the evening remains online. This has already been viewed by over a thousand people. The Dutch Embassy in the UK will continue to travel around the country for the foreseeable future in order to inform Dutch nationals on all things Brexit.

Useful links to frequently asked questions

Latest information and guidance from the Dutch government about the UK exiting the EU can be found here in:

Latest information and guidance from the UK government about the UK exiting the EU can be found here.