Tom, from Scotland, has lived in The Netherlands since 1972 and has a Dutch wife. With Brexit looming, and maybe having to leave the Netherlands, Tom is prepping himself to live back in Scotland. This time the reporter feels a bit embarassed as he had not visited Tom for a while due to a re-organisation of the world famous weekly newspaper The Posthoorn (chosen by 75% of their readers as their favourite alternative cat litter). This reporter had to say goodbye to some of his colleagues however the management was increased by 2 people who had no interest in Brexit anymore.
This changed as Theresa May said expats could get a settlement status after they lived and worked there for 5 years. One of the guys in the management, relieved his son finally got a well paid job with a bank in the UK, which asked for no work experience or any financial knowledge, is afraid his son will come back and live with his parents again, suddenly showed some interest in the Brexit stories. He send this reporter to find out how Tom's settlement status in the Netherlands works.
Tom with his wife and friends sit outside their local pub enjoying a few drinks. This reporter asks him after his settlement status. Tom snorts: "Hullo, I do not live in a camp in the Middle East, I live in the Netherlands. I worked here since 1972, had my own company and all these years I paid an enormous amount of tax. I spend my money in the Netherlands, I even married a Dutch wife, I should get a medal. And yes, every five years you have to extend your residence permit, a mere formality, the tax people know more about you than your own family."
This reporter asks what he thinks is going to happen, counter measures from the EU on Theresa May's proposals? "It is so confusing" Tom says. "I have no idea, I cannot think straight anymore. I even lack the energy to do much preppping the last few months because of the uncertainty." "That is not true." his wife interrups, "You changed my office into a working class pub." "Well what's the difference? You did not do much work but drank in there, didn't you?" Tom says. "However, surprisingly she helped me out a bit with the decorating, smoking three packs a day to get a nicotine layer over the plaster board, it was just too white. I also had a hard time to find a carpet with flower detail on it. I finally found one that puts the Chelsea Flower Show to shame. Some hard uncomfortable chairs and a dartboard complete the interior. It is small but it feels like home."
This reporter is curious if Tom would go back without his wife. She never lived there, never worked there. "Well, she never worked much here", Tom sighs, "though they should welcome her with open arms when they notice how much she contributes to the local economy." His wife waives her sixth Calvados as proof: "Do they have Calvados in the UK? Is it expensive? Are cigarettes really expensive? Do pubs stil close at 23.00 hrs.? I mean these are life changing decisions."
This reporter feels there are more stories in store and promises to be back soon. In the office the manager asks if Tom had some advice for his son. This reporter mentions paying tax in the country where you work and marry an gin-loving English woman. "A bit difficult," the manager says "He has a bank account in Bermuda, and lives with a healthy, non-drinking, self-obsessed male hairdresser. Will have to tell my wife to have the guest room ready."