Brexit - Immigration

The issue of immigration was at the forefront of the Brexit debate, and it is an issue that has continued to dominate the Brexit negotiations, with Theresa May making it clear that the UK will sacrifice being part of the Single Market to curb the free movement of people and control the UK's borders.

Although nothing is definitive at this stage, we anticipate that the UK will implement an immigration regime similar to the current points based system that applies to non-EU nationals who want to live and work in the UK. Under that type of system EU nationals would need to obtain a visa to enter and remain in the UK and be subject to stringent eligibility requirements. There is no guarantee that EU nationals currently residing in the UK will be eligible for a visa or meet the necessary requirements, although it is anticipated that there will be some form of transitional measures for EU nationals currently living in the UK.

If the UK implements a single-tier immigration regime, the impact will also be felt by UK employers who employ and rely on EU nationals as part of their workforce. Under the current points based system, UK employers have to apply for a Sponsor Licence to sponsor migrant workers to work in the UK. Following the UK's departure from the EU, this system may be rolled out to apply to both EU and non-EU nationals.

A further concern is the impact Brexit will have on British citizens who reside in other EU member states. At this early stage in the negotiations it is impossible to predict whether British citizens will be entitled to remain in those EU states.

Overall, with so much uncertainty surrounding the issue of immigration, it is difficult to imagine what the picture will look like following the trigger of Article 50. We can expect lengthy negotiations, and at this stage we can only advise EU nationals currently residing in the UK to protect their status in the UK; for example, by applying for Permanent Residence and Citizenship. 

Read the following articles

Brexit and Immigration Control - What does this mean for EU nationals?

Yesterday, Tuesday 17 January, the Prime Minister, Theresa May, gave a speech on Brexit setting out 12 objectives she will pursue in her negotiations to leave the EU. Central to the negotiations are the control of immigration and rights for EU nationals living in Britain.

Read more

Brexit Concerns - Time To Apply For British Citizenship?

What does a vote to leave the EU in June's referendum 2016 mean for EU Nationals currently living in the UK? The short answer is we do not know.

Read more

Click here to read more Brexit articles.

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Kirsty Cooke

Senior Associate

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+44 (0)1392 333908


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