In the next five years, one-third of Latvian citizens who now live in Britain plan to apply for British citizenship, according to a survey performed by researchers of the University of Latvia Institute of Philosophy and Sociology to determine the opinion of Latvian emigrants towards Brexit and its consequences.
Results of the survey show that 73% of Latvian citizens do not support UK’s exit from the European Union. Participants of the survey, regardless of the time they have spent in Britain and their age, believe Brexit will only worsen the quality of life of Latvians living there (42%).
Negative consequences from Brexit will be personally experienced by every fifth respondent; often concerns were voiced by other Latvian citizens (30%). More than half of the one who have personally experienced negative influence from Brexit have mentioned the drop of value of the British pound sterling and life becoming more expensive in general. More rarely survey participants mentioned experiencing increased intolerance towards foreigners or reduced options to find jobs, as explained by the institute’s researcher Mārtiņš Kaprāns.
Survey results show that Latvian citizens more often allow that Brexit will likely increase the costs of calling relatives in other EU member states over the phone, as well as change the way residence permits are issued. Respondents did not often mention the possibility of worsening higher education opportunities in the UK after Brexit.
The survey also shows that Latvian citizens believe Brexit would affect them more if the British government decided to limit their rights to receive pension in the country. Influence from Brexit would diminish if the government decided to limit options to receive different family, healthcare and disability benefits, researchers explain. The survey was performed as part of University of Latvia Institute for Philosophy and Sociology researcher Kaprāns’ post-doctoral research project «Baltic migrants in Britain: adaptation strategy and future scenarios». Survey data was acquired in March 2019 using Facebook tools. The survey was performed in Latvian, Lithuanian and Russian language. 930 Latvian and 1 008 Lithuanian citizens participated in it.