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Helping Brexit Goans Resettle in Goa

Britain’s exit from the European Union is likely to affect thousands of Goan-origin immigrants in that country holding a Portuguese passport. It is bound to restrict immigration from Goa through the Portuguese route. A number of such Goans might have to return to Goa and face problems as they surrendered their Indian citizenship. They would not be able to enjoy benefits at par with Indian citizens unless a new law is adopted to fast track their regaining of Indian nationality. The Goans who stay on would lose the doles they were getting. Hard economic logic could persuade Britain not to force out-migration of Goans as they are engaged in doing works that the English do not take up.
While one section of Goans who acquired British nationality voted for the country’s exit from the European Union, another section voted otherwise. Since the formal exit of Britain might take a couple of years, there will be ample time for Goan migrants to see how it works and decide to migrate to other countries of the European Union or return home. In any case, the full implication of the British referendum is likely to emerge over the next few months and Goans could in the meanwhile prepare for the future. With fluency in English, Goans had been able to relocate themselves easily in Britain and use their English skills not only to get jobs by being able to understand what was expected of them but also being able to communicate with the local population, which served to their advantage. The Goans using Portuguese passport might not have similar advantage elsewhere in Europe. Such a situation is likely to have effect on Goans seeking Portuguese nationality. With the British having voted to move out of EU and advantage of English language gone for seeking employment, it remains to be seen whether the Goans would still queue up in large numbers before the Portuguese consulate in Goa to seek Portuguese nationality.
Though the impact of Brexit might not be immediate, the Goa government ought to brace itself to help the Goans who might have to return to their homeland in case they do not find favourable atmosphere in Britain or elsewhere in Europe, where they can move using their Portuguese passport. There is possibility of Goans wanting to come back to their homeland and start life afresh. The role of the government would be crucial in case the Goans having Portuguese passport decide to come back to Goa. The state authorities should prepare themselves to rise to the occasion and ensure all possible help to such unfortunate people, who appear to have left everything here for greener pastures but now finding themselves in most awkward situation. While the state government has failed to resolve the issue of the Goans on dual citizenship, it ought to take up the case of the Goans who would want to come back and regain their Indian nationality with the central authorities and prevail upon them to relax the norms to fast track their cases. There is need to ensure smooth transition of these hapless people, who are victims partly of their own making by having decided to forego their Indian citizenship and partly of Brexit in which they hardly had any role. The government should prepare a roadmap to make sure that these people do not face hurdles in getting back their Indian citizenship.
There is possibility of many Goans seeking British citizenship using their Portuguese passport so as to avoid any adverse impact of the referendum outcome, taking advantage of British law that allows dual citizenship. This is considered as a backdoor entry into Britain by the people who are opposed to such a migration and want to curb it. Whether they would succeed in getting British citizenship as well is another matter. However, there appears to be a silver lining with a call for a second referendum by over two million Britons. Perhaps the signatories to the call for second referendum were not anticipating the results and as such may not have voted hoping that a majority of British nationals would vote to continue to be a part of the EU. In case there is a second referendum there is possibility of the other side winning and the status quo continuing. Whatever unfolds for the persons of Goan origin in the outcome of Brexit it is necessary that state authorities are considerate to the cause of Goans and make sure that they do not feel unwanted in case they want to return to their home land and face problems in resettling themselves.

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