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UK Immigration and Brexit after the EU Referendum

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There has been uncertainty about what will happen to EU citizens after the decision by the UK to leave the EU following the EU referendum of 23 June 2016.

Nobody knows exactly what will happen after Brexit. It seems likely that the three million non-British EU citizens already in the UK will be allowed to stay. Those EU citizens and their dependents who have been in the UK for five years may wish to consider applying for permanent residence in the UK. Seventy-One percent of EU citizens are in this situation. Even if they do not apply for residence prominent members of the leave campaign have indicated that EU citizens will be allowed stay anyway. However, there may be less certainty about what happens to non-EU citizen dependents after Britain eventually leaves the EU.

Possible restrictions on EU Immigration even before UK leaves

Brexit UK Immigration Review

There is also the issue of what will happen between now and the UK actually leaving the EU. This is a process that could take years. The UK may try and impose restrictions on new EU migrants entering the UK in the meantime. However, if this happens without an agreement with the EU this will likely cause enormous friction between the UK and other EU Countries. Being part of the EU means that you are supposed to abide by the EU's rules.

Britains living in other EU Countries likely to be allowed to stay

It also seems likely that the more than one million British citizens living outside the UK in other EU Countries will most likely be able to stay. Again, it may be advisable for British citizens to apply for permanent residence in the EU Country where they live. Also, after Brexit it may be more attractive for British citizens to apply for citizenship in another EU Country. They will then be in a position to benefit from free movement rights to other EU Countries in future. This is assuming that Brexit does not cause some sort of chain reaction resulting in the end of the EU as we know it.

After Britain leaves the EU British citizens will probably needs work visas to work in EU Countries

Once the UK leaves the EU it seems likely that it will be considerably more difficult for British citizens who wish to live and work in EU Countries to do so in future. The more prosperous EU Countries such as Germany, France, the Netherlands, Denmark, Belgium, etc have tough immigration rules. It is not easy for non-EU citizens to work in these Countries legally.

Probably it will remain easy for British citizens to visit EU Countries

It seems likely that visit visa requirements will not change significantly. However, a British citizen if no longer an EU citizen will be treated like other non-EU citizens. It is likely that British citizens will have to wait longer to go through passport control. Like other non-EU citizens there will be restrictions on periods of entry and conditions of stay in EU Countries.

Probably EU Citizens already in the UK can stay and British Citizens can stay in other EU Countries

In conclusion we think it is likely that non British EU citizens and their dependents already in the UK will be allowed to stay in the UK. In fact according to the "Leave" Campaign in one respect they may be treated more favourably. It may turn out to be the case that they can gain permanent residence without having to wait five years in the UK. We think it is likely that British citizens living in other EU Countries will be allowed to stay. We also think that the UK economy will suffer at least in the short to medium term.