Successful local artist Gerhard Kress came to the UK from Germany forty years ago, working unpaid in the voluntary sector and later working full-time with people with learning disabilities. He gained a degree – paying his own tuition fees – and started his own successful small arts-based business. Gerhard has never been reliant on state benefits. Despite his contribution to his adopted country Gerhard, who lives in Pontypridd with his partner Sally, has been left in a state of limbo as a result of the UK Government’s failure to confirm that he will be allowed to remain in the UK post-Brexit.

Gerhard Kress said:
“This year I’m celebrating my fortieth anniversary in my country. My partner and I celebrate our silver wedding anniversary, my son is completing his A levels and hoping to go on to studying physics; but despite this I have no idea what will happen to me and my family as a result of the UK Government’s decision to use me as a bargaining chip in Brexit negotiations.”

“My wife was born not far from Pontypridd and I worry that she will have to get used to visiting her husband once or twice a year in another country. I worry too that my son’s studies will suffer as a result of his own concerns about the potential break up of his family. I fear having to start a new life in a new country and as I near retirement, I worry about things such as what will happen to my hard-earned state pension and will I be able to access to the NHS.”

“My family doesn’t deserve this and I shouldn’t be held as a ‘Brexit hostage’ by the UK Government. It’s time for Teresa May to do the decent thing and remove the uncertainty which is affecting every aspect of my family’s life.”

Gerhard’s local Assembly Member Mick Antoniw said:
“Regrettably, Gerhard is far from alone. Thousands of people from continental Europe have been left in a state of complete limbo. They cannot make everyday decisions with any degree of certainty, let alone make plans for the future. These people are being treated with no respect or fairness whatsoever. The UK Government needs to take action as a matter of urgency and confirm that those EU citizens living in Wales and across the UK will have a right to remain here.”