Brexit vote: What British expats in UAE want to happen

More than five million British citizens living abroad, including the Middle East, have their fingers crossed on a forthcoming Brexit referendum on June 23, 2016.

How will a British decision to quit the European Union affect UK expats in the UAE?

The vote would affect the second-largest European economy, one of its top two military powers and the richest financial centre, according to reports.

British businessmen in the UAE are not taking the risk of taking sides in this crucial referendum, that will affect the value of the pound, thereby strongly impacting Britons in UAE.

At a recent event at the Capital Club Dubai on the Brexit, participants were almost equally divided on the topic.

Prominent British citizens who spoke to Emirates 24|7 said they are “emotionally” for the Brexit, but “commercially” for remaining in the EU.

“I am not keen to make a point of view about this referendum at this time. We will wait and watch,” said a leading British businessman in the UAE, who also preferred we do not use his name.

In the UAE alone there are approximately 100,000 British citizens living and not all of them will be eligible to take part in the vote.

“Materially, the voting outcome will not have a direct impact on British citizens living here.

Jonathan MacPherson, Vice-Chairman, and COO, British Business Group, Dubai.(Supplied)

“Maybe there is some changes in currency values, but it is very difficult to predict the impact of the referendum on the British citizens living here,” said Jonathan MacPherson, Vice-Chairman, and COO, British Business Group, Dubai.

“Many people are sitting on the fence to see the outcome of Brexit,” MacPherson, also the Regional Director of Hill + Knowlton Strategies, said.

“There are different arguments for and against Brexit and it is very difficult to predict what is going to be the impact of Britain leaving the European Union.

“However, the British Business Group will continue to work with the UAE and UK Governments and partners to boost the bilateral trade and investment ties.

“Whatever is the outcome of Brexit, we at the British Business Group will continue to play our vital role,” McPherson said.

According to Sarosh Zaiwalla, Sarosh Zaiwalla and Zaiwalla & Co, Solicitors, the UK is the financial centre in the European Union.

“The City of London has attracted a wide range of global banks and other financial services. Brexit, inadvertently would impact the financial services industry, the extent of which will depend on the arrangements agreed upon during the transition period and the specifics of the trade agreement,” he said in an opinion column.

For taking part in the referendum on June 23, overseas British citizens who have lived abroad for a minimum of 15 years can register online and nominate someone to physically cast their votes in the UK.