by Graham Pierrepoint
FREEDOM OF MOVEMENT BETWEEN THE UK AND EU TO END WITH BREXIT – AT LEAST, ACCORDING TO THE GOVERNMENT
Brexit continues to be a topic of huge uncertainty and, for a lot of people, something of a major concern. The UK leaving the European Union will result in big changes for British citizens, those EU nationals living in the country, and ex-patriots living and working on the continent. It has been over a year since the British public took to the polls, and since then, there seems to have been a feeling of hurried concern – as exactly what both the UK and the EU will retain from ‘divorce’ proceedings remains to be seen. For one thing, trade agreements will be completely redrawn unless a middle-ground can be found – meaning that the UK could find itself at the back of the trade queue if a mutual deal is not reached.
This week, it appears that the UK government is keen to assert that free movement between the country and EU states will cease when Brexit is officially earmarked to take place in March 2019. Therefore, this could mean big changes for ex-patriots and EU nationals – meaning that a visa system and greater immigration controls could be heading the way of the UK border force. Certainly, this is one element that many voters for Brexit will be pleased about – but the concept of managed EU migration still seems rather unnerving for those who have been working in the country for considerable time.
It’s been stated that anyone originating from the EU and working and/or living in the UK will need to apply for registration until policy is drawn up and made permanent following the UK’s departure from the Union – while this suggests that there will be a window of time in place for affected people to prepare, it also suggests that freedom of movement may no longer be a subject that the British government is keen to bring to the negotiating table. For those on the side of the EU, however, it will remain a contentious topic – and it will remain to be seen just how discussions play out.
Brexit is set to be an intricate and unprecedented affair – after all, the EU will be keen not to give the UK everything they hope for in an effort to protect EU citizens and to deter future exit strategies from other states – but the clock is very much ticking – and the world, as always, is watching.