United Kingdom – U.K. Votes to Depart the EU

What has changed

On June 23, 2016, the United Kingdom voted to depart the European Union. While the Home Office have not released any official statement with regards to UK immigration in the future, some main points are outlined below.

To date, nationals of the European Economic Area (EEA)/European Union (EU) have had the free right to work and reside within the UK.

Who is affected?

  • All employers with EEA/EU nationals on staff in the UK
  • All employers with UK nationals on staff in EEA/EU countries

What to expect

  • It will take a minimum of two (2) years for the UK to leave the EU. During that time, Britain will continue to abide by EU treaties and laws; however, it will not take part in any decision making.
  • The UK will have to negotiate the terms of its departure. Issues will include what financial regulations applicable to the City of London, trade tariffs, and movement rights of EU citizens and UK nationals.
  • The Vienna Convention on Diplomatic Relations of 1961 protects the rights of EU nationals living in the UK & UK nationals living in the EU. During the departure negotiations period, EU nationals will continue to have freedom of movement within the UK, as will UK nationals within the EU.
  • There are three (3) million EU migrants living in the UK and two (2) million UK nationals living in the EU. The Government will address the concerns of EU nationals currently residing in the UK. It has been mooted that those who had a National Insurance number prior to the referendum should be allowed to stay.
  • The rights of EU nationals may though depend on the documentary evidence of their right to remain, and they at some point may have to apply for residence.
  • The Government could negotiate a new treaty with the EU for freedom of movement, though this is unlikely as immigration was a key force driving the vote to leave the EU.
  • After the two (2) year exit is complete, the Government will more than likely include EU nationals under the Points Based System. This was mooted by the Government prior to the vote.
  • Some believe that the UK’s decision to leave the EU could encourage other EU member nations to follow suit with referendums of their own.

What you need to do
Planning ahead

  • Emigra Worldwide will be monitoring the developments as they are announced and will communicate accordingly.
  • Contact your Emigra Worldwide attorney or representative for further details on how these updates may impact you or your client.

The information above was provided by Emigra Worldwide, our global network partners, and relevant government authorities. The information herein is for general purposes only and not intended as advice for a particular matter. If you have any questions, please do not hesitate to contact the global immigration professional with whom you work.