A NO-voting Polish mother-of-two who is married to a Scot and lives in Orkney has told how she has changed her mind on Scottish independence because of the uncertainty of her status post-Brexit and her opinion that Nicola Sturgeon is more trustworthy than Theresa May.
Monika Armet has been living in Orkney for almost 10 years, where she has worked in a variety of jobs in the hospitality and care sectors.
Writing on The Orkney News website, she said she had met and married Billy Armet, with whom she now has two children Lily, six, and four-year-old Jake, and has taken a break from work to raise them, as well as studying for a degree in psychology. When Brexit came along she thought she would apply for permanent residency and “all would be fine”.
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“How wrong I was,” she said. “My application for permanent residence (PR) was refused because I did not have a relevant period of employment (under current rules it has to be continuous five years).
“When I stopped working, I should have had comprehensive sickness insurance (CSI), which is a private medical insurance, in case I fall ill.”
Monika was also concerned that she had only found out about CSI one-and-a-half years into her studies, and would “lose” the time already spent here should she apply again for permanent residence.
She told The National: “In 2014’s independence referendum I voted No, as I wanted Scotland to stay in the EU, and I thought it was too much uncertainty if Scotland was independent.
“Now, after the Brexit vote I will be voting Yes as I feel very disillusioned with the Tory Government, not wanting to protect EU nationals’ right to stay for over nine months now and trying to undermine Scotland the whole time.
“I have lost faith in the current government after Brexit.
“I’ve been following it very closely, especially after the referendum and then Brexit.”
The Prime Minister had suggested that the status of EU nationals currently living in the UK would be protected post-Brexit, but as yet, there has been no policy announcement.
“They had over nine months to offer some detail, and with Theresa May calling the General Election, I think our right to stay is not going to be discussed until after the that,” said Monika.
“So it’s going to be maybe a year or more – how long to they expect us to wait?
“I don’t know what’s going to happen because I’ve got a Scottish husband and my children were born here, they go to school here and they speak English.
“I’m the odd one out if you like because I only have my Polish passport and I don’t know what’d going to happen.
“There’s no way for me to go back to Poland because I’ve got my life here, my husband and children and I’ve been here for nearly 10 years.”
Monika said the First Minister was now her heroine: “She is the only person at the moment who talks sense.
“Theresa May changes her mind – she says she’s not going to call a General Election and then she does.
“On Easter Sunday she said in a Queen-style message that the country was coming together and we were united over the Brexit vote, and two days later she called a General Election.
“With Nicola Sturgeon she’s always been consistent.
“I think she appears to be more honest and I would believe her rather than Theresa May.
“A lot of people in Orkney vote for the LibDems and I think they continue to do so maybe because they’re scared of change, so I have to watch what I say sometimes.”
Monika said she is due to meet her local MP – Liberal Democrat Alistair Carmichael – tomorrow after she wrote that he had not answered her original communication.
“I’m going to meet him on Friday,” she said.
“I had to send him another email because I said I hadn’t received a reply and then his office got in touch, the the other day, so I’m meeting him tomorrow.”