A north-east councillor is among millions of EU nationals facing an uncertain future after learning she will have to apply to stay in the UK following Brexit – two years into her five-year term.
Under UK Government rules, European passport holders will be able to apply for “settled status” in order to continue living in Britain following its exit from the EU.
There are about three million EU nationals who will be eligible, as long as they have stayed in the country continuously for a minimum of five years.
Among them is Ellon and District councillor Anouk Kahanov-Kloppert, who moved to the north-east from the Netherlands more than 20 years ago.
However, despite the length of time she has loived in Britain and the fact she is married to a British citizen, she will have to go through the process in 2019 when the UK officially leaves the EU.
Last night, she said she faced an uncertain future and expressed concern about the impact Brexit would have on her voting rights.
She added: “I only discovered I would have to go through this process when I was watching the news on Thursday night.
“People might say why don’t you just apply for a British passport, but I want to keep my Dutch passport too – in Holland, you’re not allowed to hold dual nationalities.
“It’s unsettling because I have a lot of questions that I don’t have answers to.
“I’ve been here such a long time and it just seems unfair that people have come here, paid their taxes, worked and made the effort to integrate themselves into society and are now being faced with this.”
The mother-of-two, who lives in Ythanbank, said the move could also have a damaging effect on the north-east’s economy.
She added: “People will work here in the Peterhead fishing industry and agriculture, they don’t know what the future holds.
“To move somewhere else for work and leave your family and friends behind isn’t an easy decision to make, to do it when faced with such uncertainty is going to be difficult for people.”