Prime Minister Theresa May highlighted key points on the UK government’s position on Brexit in a speech today, implying that free movement to the United Kingdom from Europe will likely end, and setting her intention to guarantee the residency rights of EU nationals in the United Kingdom if European countries also grant UK nationals residence rights.
Highlights of Speech
The following are key points regarding immigration in Prime Minister May’s speech:
Record levels of migration into the United Kingdom have caused a great deal of pressure on public services such as schools, housing and wages for the working class;
- The UK government would apply a phased implementation for any travel restrictions it would implement;
- The government seeks to guarantee the rights of European Economic Area (EEA) nationals already living in Britain, and seeks the guarantee of rights of UK nationals in other EU Member States, as early as possible; and
- The UK government seeks to protect and enhance the rights of EU workers currently in the United Kingdom.
What This Means for Employers and Foreign Nationals
EEA nationals arriving in the UK following Brexit are likely to face new travel and work-related restrictions in a phased approach upon the end of the two-year period following the triggering of Article 50 (expected in March 2017). However, the UK government has not yet made clear the extent of these restrictions.
EEA nationals and their family members in the United Kingdom should contact their immigration professional to discuss the benefits of applying for residence/permanent residence status.
Fragomen will issue updates on Brexit as developments occur.