How do EU citizens exercising their treaty rights to live anywhere in the European Union feel about the prospect of being offered work permits and visas by the UK government and thus becoming immigrants after everything that has happened? While reading the Financial Times, I stumbled upon the following comment which, I believe, hit the nail on the head:
"All my friends who are EU citizens are considering leaving the UK. Most of them are actively considering jobs elsewhere. Not so much because they feel particularly exposed - most of them have been here for more than 10 years and have good jobs here, several of them have created successful corporate finance businesses here attracting foreign investors from the EU and UK investors in the EU, companies which are relatively easy to relocate and often already have offices elsehere in the EU - but because they do not like the UK anymore and do not want it to continue to profit from their industry.
It is mainly affective: they believed the UK to be the most tolerant, meritocratic and open society in the EU. They feel Europeans and this was their place in British society and their common identity with the British. The "new UK " post referendum is seen as xenophobic and inward looking. They complain about the EU but the referendum made them realise that they had a deep attachment to its founding principles. They do not want the UK to prosper at the expense of the EU. And they don't want to help.
There is a deep sense that if the UK believes itself to be better than any other nations and wants to stand alone, then it should be alone and not drain from the EU the best talents.
In a sense the EU referendum has awoken their own nationalism but as Europeans citizens. Their is a new desire to protect Europe and work to change it for the better."
Will Brexit turn out to be a boon for the EU, then? Possibly. Most of us, if not all, were infatuated with Britain and that made how we had been treated during the referendum affair hurt even more, that can be clearly sensed in our attitudes described in the comment cited above.