/Brexit: Will the Kids be Alright?

Brexit: Will the Kids be Alright?

With Brexit negotiations up in the air and the deadline fast approaching, many young
British people are concerned about just how Brexit will affect them, though it’s
uncertain if it will.

Much of the media focus has been on how Brexit will affect trade negotiations and the
allegiance of North Ireland, however this doesn’t tell individuals how they can expect
Brexit to affect their day-to-day lives.

British university student Chloe Scotchbrook, 22, is concerned about how Brexit will
affect her ability to travel. A remain voter, she is concerned with the uncertainty of
Brexit negotiations.

While completing an internship in Utrecht in the Netherlands two years ago, Chloe Scotchbrook met
her now boyfriend, who studies in Utrecht. She is worried about how Brexit will affect
their ability to visit each other, maintaining their long distance relationship, and in the
future, if one of them will be able to emigrate to the other’s country.

“The main thing I worry about is the ease of travelling to Europe, and obviously for me,
the fact that I’m in a relationship with somebody in Europe,” Scotchbrook says.
“How [Brexit] is going to affect that, how easy that will be if I did want to move here
[Utrecht] or if he did want to move to me.”

As well as the personal impact, Scotchbrook, who is studying biochemistry, is concerned about
the future of her industry. Research teams from different universities and labs that
collaborate with each other may be limited and may be more difficult, or impossible,
jeopardizing medical and cosmetic research, and her future career.

“As a scientist, a lot of research is done in collaboration with a lot of different
Universities, in different countries,” explains Scotchbrook,“Whether that’s going to be affected and whether big research groups and international companies might want to keep more separate to avoid any kind of problems, I’m not sure.”

For Utrecht local and former Londoner, 20-year-old Milly Osborne, the concern is also
primarily career-based. Already working in  the Netherlands, Milly is not concerned about finding
a job after Brexit, but is concerned with potential sponsorship fees and visa charges her
employer may face, that could lead to her contract not being renewed. In this case, says
Milly, she is worried she won’t be able to find another job in the European Union for the
same reasons.

“I’m not so scared of how it’s going to affect my life, I think because I’m employed right
now my job here is fine,” explains Osborne, “The thing that worries me is making travel more inconvenient, and freedom to travel around, because we’ve always had it so easy and taken it for granted.”

“If I were to change jobs or apply for a new job after the changes are made, an employer
might think twice, ‘do we really want someonefrom the UK?’ because it’s maybe going to
cost them more or be more admin.”

The Open Europe think tank, started by Lord Leach of Fairford, and originally covering
the EU referendum, expanding to Brexit once the vote had been decided. Head of the
Brussels office of Open Europe, Pieter Cleppe, doesn’t think young people have as much
to worry about as they think they do, and that Europe will largely follow Britain’s lead,
when it comes to the issues concerning young people.
“That depends on the future agreement, you will always get this answer,” Mr Cleppe
says.

“The UK government will get away with a deal in the future that would make it not too
hard for Europeans to move to Britain. So in all likelihood, what will be agreed is not the
full freedom of movement of today, but something that would allow a lot of the
movements that happen today still in the future, though with increased security checks.”, explains Cleppe.

“How easy will it be for British people to go to Europe?” Cleppe asks, “This will depend on how
Europeans are treated when they come to Britain. In all likelihood, if the UK is very
liberal towards EU citizens, the EU will be liberal toward UK citizens.”

Mr Cleppe understands why young people are concerned, and says that while everything
with Brexit is uncertain, it will not largely impact the freedom of movement for people
between Britain and the EU. Trade is likely to see the biggest changes from Brexit, and
while Milly’s career may be safe, Chloe’s fears on research collaboration may not be
unfounded.