On 1 February this year 606 British men and 520 British women were employed by the institutions of the European Union. This is 3.8% of the total number of EU civil servants.
The Brussels regional news platform Bruzz reports that the exodus of Britons from the European institutions will be gradual. It bases this assertion on statements from the spokespersons from the European Parliament and the European Commission on Thursday. It is still not clear what will happen to the jobs that will become vacant once the Britons leave.
In addition to the 1,226 British nationals that work for the EU institutions, there are many thousands more that work for lobby groups, other international organisations and consultancy bureaus. They and their families account for a 30,000 strong British expat community in Belgium, many of who live in and around Brussels.
The British journalist Paul McNally (The Bulletin) told Bruzz that "May a time will come that we will have to apply for a visa in order to work here and that is a really strange idea”.
"Nobody really seems to know what will happen. My wife works for the European Commission. We don’t know how the Brexit will go, will it be quick or will it be a long-drawn out procedure. It’s that which is frightening. The future is totally uncertain.”
EU rules state that you must be the citizen of an EU country to get a job with the EU, but they say nothing about what happens if the country you are a citizen of leaves the EU. So there could still be hope for the Brits that are employed at the European Commission, the European Parliament and the European Council, Mr McNally believes.
The Bulletin journalist has discussed the Brexit with a number of experts and has come to the following conclusion.
"In the most optimistic scenario it will take two years. However, it could take much longer than that as other EU countries want to avoid creating a precedent and won’t want to make it easy for the UK.