How will Brexit effect immigration law in the UK?

Currently, there are three million EU nationals living in the UK, making up around 6.6% of the workforce in this country.

Many of these migrants will most likely be allowed to stay in the UK. Why? Because 71% of them have been in the country for more than five years, which qualifies them for permanent residence.

Uncertain times lay ahead, and there are many ways that Brexit could affect UK immigration law. Read on to find out more.

A Points System

Many Vote Leave campaigners voiced their interest in a points style immigration system, much like the one Australia has in place.

This means that migrants could be admitted into the country based on what they could bring to the economy with their skillset and experience.

For example, in Australia, the government allows a set amount of people from various professions to live and work in the country, depending on what is needed at the time. This could be anything from teachers to medical professionals to engineers.

Low-skilled Migrants

In the UK, there are 5.7 million people employed in shops, hotels and restaurants. EU workers account for almost 8% of these low-skilled jobs.

As the future is still unclear, it is difficult to predict what will happen to these workers once Britain leaves the EU. It is likely that Brexit will mean EU workers in the UK would have to adhere to the same procedures as those from outside the EU, and apply for a visa to remain in the country.

The UK’s current migration policy on non-EU migration does not admit low-skilled workers, so it is difficult to say whether or not the low-skilled workers from the EU would be able to stay and work in the country.

Free Movement of Labour

Another country that is not a member of the EU is Norway. However, Norway does allow free movement of labour from EU nationals, in return for access to the EU’s single market.

This means that, if you are an EU national, you can still live and work in Norway if you find a job there.

However, with the Leave campaigns promise to ‘take back control’ of immigration, it is not known what will be the result of the negotiations. What about UK nationals who are already living in the EU?

Again, this is difficult to judge based on the uncertainty of the situation.

However, the image of expats from the UK that now live in the EU being forced back to this country in a vast migration is very unlikely.

It is important to remember that, while Britain negotiates its leaving terms under article 50, Britain is still part of the EU. This means that, over the next two years or so, nothing will change for British expats abroad.

Any British citizens living abroad that own property will most likely continue to do so. The only thing that could change are the laws surrounding inheritance and tax, so it’s worth keeping an eye on these.

UK expats who are working abroad may face additional pressures if their host countries require them to comply with more restrictive business rules. This means that they could lose their automatic right to work in the EU and have to apply for Blue Cards.

Here at DPP Law, we have a dedicated team of solicitors who are experts in immigration law. If you would like to have a confidential discussion about your requirements, contact us directly on 033 200 5859 or complete our contact form.