Kentish Gazette Canterbury & District

Forced out by Brexit

‘Get back to Frog-land,’ woman is told

- By Mar­i­jke Hall mhall@thek­m­group.co.uk @Ken­tishgazett­e Brexit · Society · UK News · British Politics · European Politics · Politics · France · Canterbury · Government of the United Kingdom · European Union · Eu · United Kingdom · England · Canterbury · Duffield · Hersden · Herne Bay · Herne · Sittingbourne · Canterbury Cathedral · La Rochelle

A woman has de­cided to re­turn to her na­tive France be­cause of hos­til­ity and lack of job prospects after Brexit.

Murielle Stentzel, who has lived and worked in the Can­ter­bury area and has a Bri­tish­born grand­daugh­ter, has been told to “go back to Frog-land”. While search­ing for a new job, she says em­ploy­ers were ask­ing if she had the right to stay.

That is de­spite the Bri­tish gov­ern­ment’s of­fer to Brus­sels that EU cit­i­zens al­ready set­tled in the UK will be able to stay and have the same rights as Bri­tish peo­ple. She says she has come across some job ad­verts that state “Bri­tish na­tion­als only”. “All this, plus 15 months of un­cer­tainty about our rights and the stag­ger­ing rise of xeno­pho­bia, is enough to fall out of love with this coun­try,” she said.

Her ex­pe­ri­ences come after a cathe­dral guard told a for­eign vis­i­tor “Dover’s that way love” after the Brexit vote. And in her maiden Com­mons speech, Can­ter­bury MP Rosie Duffield warned about the dan­gers of a hard Brexit to the lo­cal econ­omy.

A French woman who lives in the Can­ter­bury dis­trict says she is be­ing forced out of the coun­try - and away from her fam­ily - be­cause of dis­crim­i­na­tion sparked by Brexit.

Murielle Stentzel claims she has been left with no op­tion but to move back to her home coun­try next week after eight years in Eng­land, leav­ing her daugh­ter and Bri­tish-born grand­daugh­ter, aged five, be­hind.

The 57-year-old, who worked in Hers­den, says she has been de­nied jobs, suf­fered abuse and faced a “stag­ger­ing rise” in xeno­pho­bia since the June 2016 vote.

She moved to Herne Bay after se­cur­ing a bilin­gual role at Mat­tress Next Day on the out­skirts of Can­ter­bury, and after be­ing made re­dun­dant got an­other job in Sit­ting­bourne.

“Un­for­tu­nately I lost my job a few months ago and de­spite send­ing 30 CVS a week I only got a few in­ter­views,” she said.

“I kept be­ing asked if I had the right to stay and could I prove it, which is still il­le­gal to ask.

“Each time my an­swer was the same ‘I’m Euro­pean for now, my pass­port is enough proof and I have been here for eight years and ac­cord­ing to the EU laws, I have the same rights un­til 2019’.

“I had to re­port some jobs ad­verts as they are clearly dis­crim­i­na­tory, spec­i­fy­ing Bri­tish na­tion­als only.

“I thought I might have more luck in Can­ter­bury as so many peo­ple voted re­main, but it is a univer­sity city with lots of stu­dents so why would they need some­one like me?”

Just a month after the Brexit vote last year, Can­ter­bury Cathe­dral was forced to is­sue a grov­el­ling apol­ogy after one of its guards told an Ar­gen­tinian woman: “Dover’s that way, love.”

Mum-of-two Silv­ina Fair­brass was met with the of­fen­sive jibe as she headed into the Cathe­dral precincts.

She said at the time: “Since the ref­er­en­dum, un­for­tu­nately, there has been a mi­nor­ity who see a plat­form to voice their opin­ions against for­eign­ers.”

Ms Stentzel says such dis­crimi-

‘I don’t feel wel­come any­more and I will re­turn to France – not home, be­cause home was here’

na­tion has left her no op­tion but to move back to France.

“I’m go­ing to live in a room in La Rochelle in hard­ship as the French au­thor­i­ties will not help for three months as I have been liv­ing here,” she said.

Ms Stentzel says she was happy be­fore the Brexit vote and had met lovely peo­ple in Herne Bay who be­came her adop­tive fam­ily.

“Things have got bad now, though,” she said.

“I have been told to re­turn to frog­land, I have been abused on­line be­cause I’m a for­eigner.

“All this, plus 15 months of un­cer­tainty about our rights and the stag­ger­ing rise of xeno­pho­bia, is enough to fall out of love with this coun­try.

“I wish no-one to ex­pe­ri­ence this pain in­flicted on us since June 2016.

“We have done noth­ing wrong other than love this coun­try and con­trib­ute to it.

“I don’t feel wel­come any­more and I will re­turn to France – not home, be­cause home was here.

“I’m leav­ing my daugh­ter and grand­daugh­ter be­hind.”

Ms Stentzel has con­trib­uted to a book called In Limbo, which gives tes­ti­monies from EU cit­i­zens in the UK about their plight since the vote.

“I en­cour­age peo­ple to read it to see the im­pact it has had on us,” she said.

 ??  ?? Murielle Stentzel is leav­ing her fam­ily to re­turn to France
Murielle Stentzel is leav­ing her fam­ily to re­turn to France
 ??  ?? Murielle Stentzel has packed up her things for her move to France
Murielle Stentzel has packed up her things for her move to France
 ??  ??
 ??  ?? A se­cu­rity guard’s racist jibe caused head­lines last year
A se­cu­rity guard’s racist jibe caused head­lines last year

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