EU nationals in Edinburgh: ‘We’re here to create jobs not take them’

Alasdair Allan at the Casa Amiga with Patricia Da Silva. Picture; Scott Taylor
Alasdair Allan at the Casa Amiga with Patricia Da Silva. Picture; Scott Taylor
44
Have your say

EU nationals living in Edinburgh have been speaking about their concerns in the aftermath of the UK’s Brexit vote.

Business owners and professionals spoke of a feeling of uncertainty about the future among their family, friends and colleagues while others voiced fears hate crimes against ethnic minorities could rise following the UK’s decision to leave the EU.

Patricia Da Silva in her the Portuguese espresso bar Casa Amiga in Leith. Picture: PA

Patricia Da Silva in her the Portuguese espresso bar Casa Amiga in Leith. Picture: PA

SEE ALSO: Will Brexit mean boom then bust for Edinburgh tourism?

Portuguese national Patricia Da Silva, 36, came to the capital under her EU passport 14 years ago but says the current situation is “very stressful” on a professional and personal level.

Ms Da Silva, who owns the Portuguese espresso bar Casa Amiga in Leith with her husband Mike, said: “We don’t know what the outcome (is going to be).

“Our concern is about our family, different family members who are maybe only here for a year or two that have decided to bring their kids over. Everyone’s in school now, they’ve bought homes.

“They’re concerned and we’re concerned for them, thinking how are we going to deal with this?”

Ms Da Silva employs 10 staff who come from Spain, Italy, Greece and Poland, as well as Portugal.

She said: “The only thing I can do is reassure them that the Scottish Government is going to try and change things and help us to stay in the EU so that we have the freedom of movement and we’re allowed to stay.”

SEE ALSO: David Cameron insists UK economy can survive Brexit

The businesswoman and mother said she has not encountered hostility in “open-minded” Scotland - but says it has been a different story for family members living south of the border.

She added: “People’s mentality is ‘they’re coming, they’re taking our jobs’ but actually what we are trying to do is create jobs, open up businesses.

“We’re not here to come and take the benefits and jobs, we’re here to create jobs and that’s what I want to do.”

Polish national Monika Lisicka, 40, said she does not feel insecure about the future following the referendum, but knows many people who do.

On Friday, Ms Lisicka, owner of the Yellow Bench cafe in Leith, received several phonecalls from people in the Polish community asking her for work.

She said: “People are very uncertain. I have had a few calls from people I know. They called me just to feel secure that they have some employment here, not to be removed from the island. I can feel that people are really insecure.”

Ms Lisicka, who has been in Edinburgh for eight years, said she would love to stay in Scotland but will accept whatever the future has in store for her.