Search

Muswell Hill: Dutch woman in UK for 46 years ‘dominated by anxiety’ over post-Brexit residency form

PUBLISHED: 16:50 24 May 2017 | UPDATED: 17:06 24 May 2017

Dolphi Burkens.           Picture: Dolphi Burkens

Dolphi Burkens. Picture: Dolphi Burkens

Archant

A Dutch woman who has lived in Muswell Hill and Crouch End for 46 years has said anxiety is “dominating” her life after being forced to fill in “relentless” and “excruciating” Brexit-related forms.

Dolphi Burkens, 79, said she must submit an application for permanent residency before Britain leaves the EU despite having been in the country since 1971.

She told the Ham&High she is being asked “insane” questions about every passport she has ever owned, every occasion she left the UK, every home she has lived in and every job she has had.

“I can’t remember where I lived decades ago,” she said.

“It’s not logical to ask us relentless questions of excruciating detail like that – these are things everyone forgets.”

She added: “My recent experience with the Home Office’s application forms makes it very clear that I am one of those who is not needed and the doors are closing to me.”

Former community worker Ms Burkens, who owns a flat in Muswell Hill but previously lived in Crouch End, said she has a “room full of documents” associated with her application.

“It’s giving me an anxiety that’s dominating other things in my life,” she said.

“I don’t know how it will all turn out.”

Applying has been made more difficult, she said, because she is not married and doesn’t have children.

She said her “eyes dropped” when it “finally dawned” on her that she would not be entitled to any benefits if her application failed and she became a “visitor”.

“With no residency you have no access to the NHS,” she said, adding that she recently had a hip replacement and is arthritic.

“I would lose my British pension as well – and I need that because I was never a high earner.”

Ms Burkens – who said she doesn’t identify as British or Dutch because she doesn’t “sit around thinking about who I am all the time” – said she thought the UK’s vote to leave the EU was “daft”.

She added: “Why not just paint your house in the Union Jack rather than commit financial suicide?”

For now, she will try to “get through the crazy bureaucracy” that she said is “making people’s lives a misery”.

“Maybe [the government] will finally start to think about all this later,” she said.

“But the clock is ticking.”

Hornsey and Wood Green Labour candidate and former MP Catherine West – who has helped Ms Burkens during her ordeal – said: “Tragically Brexit has created so much uncertainty and anxiety for EU Nationals,” adding that a Labour government would “immediately resolve the status of EU nationals” if elected to power.

That sentiment is also shared by the Liberal Democrats and the Green Party.

A Home Office spokesman said: “EEA nationals are not required to apply for documentation confirming their status and their rights remain unchanged while we are a member of the European Union.

“For those EEA nationals who choose to apply, we have recently introduced an online process which is simple and easy for customers to use.”

Latest Hampstead & Highgate News Stories

Yesterday, 21:59

Raiders threatened staff at gunpoint at a branch of the Co-op supermarket in Swiss Cottage before making off with cash.

Yesterday, 13:46

Tributes were being paid this morning to Kentish Town teenager Lewis Blackman stabbed to death in Kensington.

Yesterday, 10:37

A Kilburn man and woman return to court in April after appearing at the Old Bailey charged with the murder of Hannah Leonard found stabbed to death at a flat in a Camden tower block.

Yesterday, 07:00

A murder investigation has been launched after a 19-year-old, believed to be from Camden, was found with fatal stab wounds in a Kensington street in the early hours on Sunday.

Friday, February 16, 2018

A Hampstead school table tennis team is going for glory after getting through to the finals of the table tennis national school team championships.

Friday, February 16, 2018

Melange, with locations in Barnet and Crouch End, has opened a third in Belsize Park. Here co-owner Justina Markauskaite talks about removing the borders between cuisines and why they put family at the centre of everything they do

Friday, February 16, 2018

The Friends of West Hampstead Library got a welcome anniversary gift when the councillor responsible for libraries told them further library closures would happen “over his dead body.”

Friday, February 16, 2018

A six-year-old girl from West Hampstead has started her own campaign to cut down on plastic waste.

PROMOTED CONTENT

Melange, with locations in Barnet and Crouch End, has opened a third in Belsize Park. Here co-owner Justina Markauskaite talks about removing the borders between cuisines and why they put family at the centre of everything they do

Less is More, a group exhibition at the Daniel Raphael Gallery will feature emerging artists from England, Italy, France and the Czech Republic, from January 24 to February 16.

For people who suffer with feet problems, it is often difficult to find footwear that is both comfortable and stylish. There is a shop in the West End dedicated to changing that.

Newsletter Sign Up

Sign up to the following newsletters:

Sign up to receive our regular email newsletter

Most read Hampstead & Highgate news

Show Job Lists

Digital Edition

cover

Enjoy the
Hampstead & Highgate Express
e-edition today

Subscribe

Education and Training

cover

Read the
Education and Training
e-edition today

Read Now