RSS Feed

Related Articles

Related Categories

Brexit and Immigration Rights – What you need to know

2nd October 2018 Print

The return of Nigel Farage to the Brexit debate should hardly come as a surprise, particularly as the deadline date of March 29th, 2019 homes into view.

Farage’s return does little do untangle the complex threads of Brexit, however, as the harsh realities of striking an amicable deal become increasingly apparent. This is pushing the UK closer to a no-deal scenario, which could potentially have a huge impact on EU migrants who reside in the UK.

But what rights will immigrants have post-Brexit? Let’s a look:

Is Theresa May Taking the Moral High Ground?

The immigration rights of EU citizens have been a key focal point throughout the Brexit negotiations, with both parties keen to protect the interests of their residents who live overseas.

The most recent tone has been conciliatory, however, particularly from the perspective of the UK and Prime Minister Theresa May. Leaked papers from the cabinet suggest that EU migrants residing in Britain will be given the right to remain in the country even in the event of a no-deal scenario, with the government reportedly keen to assume the moral high ground in the negotiations. 

This means that 3.8 million EU nationals will be granted unilateral rights to stay in the UK, regardless of whether the respective sides can arrive at an amicable deal.

Could there be Another Reason for the UK’s New Approach?

While this approach may well represent some form of conciliation to the EU, some have suggested that there may be ulterior motives for the move.

One of these is the potential labour shortages that are likely to hit sectors of the UK post-Brexit, including public sector healthcare and building trade. These industries employ relatively large numbers of EU migrants, so allowing them to remain in the country will help to provide an economic boost during a difficult period of transition.

These shortages are set to be laid bare as the government prepares to set out more of its 80 technical notes, each of which details specific preparations for a dreaded no-deal Brexit scenario.

From the perspective of citizens, the granting of unilateral rights to reside would also mean that they retain access to the NHS and benefits system, regardless of whether British nationals in the EU are afforded reciprocal rights. 

This may also negate the need for individuals to work alongside immigration lawyers to establish and uphold their rights, creating a more seamless transition into a post-Brexit world.