New restrictions on European migrants from March
28 February 2017
The Prime Minister is expected to trigger Article 50 in March 2017
The Telegraph reported that the government plans to “end free movement as we know it” on the day it triggers Article 50 of the Treaty on European Union. The report states that new European migrants to the UK will be subjected to immigration restrictions from the day on which Article 50 is triggered (that is to say, two years before the UK actually leaves the EU).
The intention is to limit European migration, particularly from Eastern Europe, during the Brexit negotiation period. It is also a negotiating tactic; the UK has so far failed to reach an informal agreement with the EU about the status of Europeans in Britain and vice versa post-Brexit.
The exact nature of the new immigration restrictions is not yet clear. The government appears to be exploring its options. One option is to introduce a regime under which new European migrants could be granted a five-year visa to come to the UK only if they have been offered a job.
Another option is to restrict access to benefits for Europeans while they are in the UK.
It is important to note that the UK’s eventual immigration system for Europeans will only become apparent after the EU and the UK have concluded the Brexit negotiations. This could take years. However, it is increasingly clear that Europeans in the UK or seeking to come to the UK need to know their rights and documentation options.
If you have any questions please do not hesitate to contact Andrew Osborne or the immigration team member you work with.