Britain’s decision to exit the European Union (EU) on Friday came as a disappointment for Punjabi NRIs who now fear tighter immigration policies and uncertainty in the economy.
“The decision is extremely disappointing. It is a poor judgement largely based on the xenophobic attitudes of residents,” said Jassi Singh Khangura, a former British national and a former Congress legislator who spent 40 years in the UK before settling down in Ludhiana in 2006.
He said the world was headed towards globalisation and the UK was separating itself from European powers. “The decision will lead to tighter immigration policies, especially for people of Indian origin stranded in countries such as Italy and aspiring to migrate to the UK. A majority of Punjabis had voted to remain in the EU. Now, the UK will have to rethink its trading alliances,” Khangura added.
‘DICTATED BY THE HEART’
“Britain’s decision has been dictated more by the heart than the head,” said Gurmeet Singh Rai, a 70-year-old British citizen who retired as a school teacher in Bradford. “In an era of interdependence, Britain has not chosen well. The decision could force a dramatic rethink of the EU itself that was aimed to bind nations. It could also have implications in Scotland that, while choosing to stay in the UK, favours remaining in the EU. Time will tell whether Scotland prefers the UK over the EU or vice-versa.”
The NRI, who has been in the UK for 40 years and is on a visit to Hoshiarpur, said the decision reflected people’s concerns and the state of Britain’s economy. “The government will have a tough time bringing stability,” he added.
‘SAD DECISION, OUT OF FEAR’
Monisha Grewal, 28, a British citizen who settled down in Ludhiana after marriage three years ago, said: “It is a sad decision made out of fear. Many in Britain fear being dominated by immigrants. They are worried that job opportunities for them will be fewer. The UK has segregated itself when the world is heading towards globalisation.”
“Punjabis were always against leaving the EU,” the young entrepreneur, who was born and brought up in London, added.