There are around 2.1 million EU workers in Britain, and, for many of them, the future is uncertain.
If you’re one of those people or if you are considering coming to the UK to work or find employment, you probably have a lot of questions.
You’re probably wondering what will happen after the UK’s vote to leave the European Union.
You’re not alone. Many EU citizens worry that Brexit means they will no longer be able to work in Britain.
There certainly is lots of ambiguity regarding how things will change in future years for the millions of people interested in working in the UK. Here are a few important aspects you should consider at this point.
How Were Things before Brexit?
The Free Movement of workers is a fundamental principle among EU countries. It’s one of the four principles on which the EU single market is founded.
According to this principle, the citizens of any member state of the European Union have the right to live and work in any country within the EU.
EU citizens are entitled to:
- Look for a job in the UK or any other EU country
- Work in the UK without needing a work permit
- Reside in the UK for work purposes
- Remain in the UK even after employment has finished
- Receive equal treatment with nationals when it comes to working conditions and all other social and tax benefits
These are significant privileges that all EU citizens working in Britain have used to their advantage.
The question now is how will the present and future look like for the immigrant workers in Britain?
How Will the Rules Change?
Brexit negotiations are likely to take at least two years to conclude.
Workers from the EU are allowed to continue working in the UK during that time. In fact, few things are expected to change until the UK is officially out.
Those in the “Leave” campaign said that EU workers already in Britain would have their “rights unaffected”.
However, once the process of the UK leaving the EU will be settled, working in the UK could be significantly harder for EU citizens.
Here are just three possible scenarios:
1. EU citizens working in the UK could be asked to prove they meet the current visa requirements for non-EU overseas workers
If this happens, it could mean that many EU citizens working in the UK will have to leave the country. A study suggests that more than three-quarters of them would not meet current visa conditions for non-EU nationals.
2. EU immigrants will no longer have an automatic right to work in the UK
That is highly likely to happen following Brexit. One of the key argument of Breexiters was that leaving the EU will help Britain take back control of its borders.
That means more restrictions could be imposed on EU immigrants in the future.
3. The UK could negotiate a new agreement that will continue to allow free movement between the UK and the EU
However, immigration control was one of the key reasons the majority of Britons voted out.
Do You Have an Immigration Problem?
If you’re worried about your future in the UK or are considering working here in the future, we can help.
We can start off with a 1-hour consultation. We’ll provide you with some general legal advice and discuss your options for the future.