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England: Roma immigrant in Sheffield will not risk traveling abroad after Brexit win

8.7.2016 12:24
Great Britain voted in a referendum to leave the European Union on 23 June 2016. (Collage:  Romea.cz)
Great Britain voted in a referendum to leave the European Union on 23 June 2016. (Collage: Romea.cz)

Czech Radio reports that concerns about the consequences of Brexit have already permeated the alleys of the northern English town of Sheffield. Many East Europeans live there now, including many Romani people from the Czech Republic or eastern Slovakia.

Because the campaign leading up to the recent referendum on Brexit revolved around the issue of restricting immigration, some inhabitants of Sheffield today fear that Britain leaving the European Union could complicate their lives. On the streets of the Page Hall neighborhood, Czech Radio reports there is a hustle and bustle that is "somewhat reminiscent of the rhythm of the Romani settlements near the villages of eastern Slovakia" from which many current residents of Sheffield hail.

"I work at the barber shop," one such older immigrant told Czech Radio. Roma from the Czech Republic and Slovakia have come there seeking jobs, but over the years some of them have reportedly garnered criticism for allegedly just drawing welfare instead of working.

Brexit may restrict immigration, some of the East European residents of Sheffield told Czech Radio. "I worked, for example, at the meat factory. Ground meat, sausages. My wife worked there at the machine that washes intestines," says Miroslav Sándor.

He has been in England for 12 years now and comes from Bystran in eastern Slovakia. "We're doing our best to have a better future. There's an opportunity to work here. Without work, it's complicated," Sándor told Czech Radio in his living room, where he was watching a press conference by Slovak Prime Minister Robert Fico on television from Bratislava.

Czech Radio reports that emotions "predominate in Page Hall over rational arguments". Sándor told them he did not travel back to Slovakia for vacation this year as originally planned because he is concerned Britain will close its borders and never readmit him.

Czech Radio, translated by Gwendolyn Albert
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Brexit, Employment, Immigration, Roma, Slovakia, social issues, UK



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