A Fife woman fears being forced out of the country following the UK’s decision to leave the EU, despite having called Scotland her home for almost 30 years.
Belgian national Alexia Grosjean said she has growing concerns about visiting family in Sweden in case if affects her ability to continue her life in Tayport.
The UK Government has so far refused to guarantee the rights of EU citizens in Britain following the Brexit vote, although there has been no suggestion there will be any immediate change to their rights.
“I’m genuinely hesitant,” the 49-year-old said about the upcoming trip to Scandinavia.
“What happens if I go away and they have changed regulations while I’m gone and I can’t come home to my husband?
“I never thought I would say that. This (feeling) has been increasing steadily in the last two or three months. Before it had never crossed my mind.
“It’s like everything is up in the air. I am very, very unsure about my future in this country. My husband is Scottish and all my friends are settled here.”
Ms Grosjean, whose father was decorated for fighting with the Belgian resistance during the Second World War, has lived in Fife since 2004 and is married to Professor Steve Murdoch, of St Andrews University.The couple have published history books together.
She now works mostly as a translator and proof reader, having moved to Scotland in 1988 to study at Aberdeen University. A move away is being contemplated after 28 years living in the north east.
“Ever since the EU referendum result we have looked at each other and I have said that my bags are half-packed,” Ms Grosjean said.
“It makes me angry. It is not because I am choosing to go. I feel forced out, although to be fair it’s not because of Scotland.”
Stephen Gethins, the SNP’s Europe spokesman, claimed EU nationals quitting Scotland would damage the economy and deter top talent from moving locally to work for universities and businesses.
The North East Fife MP added: “More than that, it is damaging on a human level to those who live and work here, have children in our schools and have given back so much to their new home. They deserve better.”
A spokesman for the UK Government’s Department for Exiting the EU said: “We have been clear that we want to protect the status of EU nationals already living in the UK and the only circumstances in which that wouldn’t be possible is if British citizens’ rights in the EU were not protected in return.”
“What I considered a normal life has been thrown into question.”
Dr Antje Brown, a teaching fellow at St Andrews University, and her husband are due to celebrate their silver wedding anniversary this summer, alongside their 14-year-old daughter and seven-year-old son.
Having lived in Scotland for more than half her life, the German has now applied for UK citizenship.
She said: “Everything has been thrown into turmoil and I feel like I have lost that sense of control and normality.
The UK Government has pointed out that the Prime Minister has told other European leaders that a deal could be agreed now, but claimed “some do not favour an agreement at this stage”.
Dr Brown, 49, believes Theresa May has taken this position to give her “leverage” in the forthcoming negotiations for the UK’s exit from the EU.
She added: “Any changes to my right to live here threatens to undermine everything that I have worked for during the last 27 years that I have spent in Scotland.
“It is now time for the UK government to do the decent thing and guarantee EU nationals, such as myself, living in the UK the right to remain, work and access services here as we currently do.”