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Is This The End Of Free Movement For EU Migrants?

28 Feb 2017


Is this the end of free movement for EU migrants?

As Theresa May gets ready to enter into formal Brexit negotiations next month, reports are suggesting that she is also set to announce the end of free movement for new EU citizens.

The announcement will affect EU citizens who arrive in the country after Article 50 has been triggered. The new restrictions mean that they will no longer have the right to stay in the UK indefinitely. They may also be subject to a new visa scheme and have limited access to benefits.

Citizens who are already residing in the UK or those who arrive before Article 50 is triggered will have their rights protected, under the condition that British Citizens living in other European countries are granted the same privilege.

MP Iain Duncan Smith, suggested that the new rulings demonstrated that Mrs. May was ready to get tough on migration, whilst offering assurance to those EU citizens who already live in the UK.

Addressing the issue of migrants is being dealt with as a matter of urgency, as Mrs. May is keen to deal with the issue so it is not involved with other Brexit discussions. The EU had urged Mrs. May to set a cut-off date in 2019, but ministers suggested that this could cause a large influx of migrants to arrive in the UK.

Lawyers advised that setting the cut-off date to June 2016, when the referendum took place, would be illegal.

In the UK there are many industries which rely heavily on EU migrants, including health, hospitality and farming. However the Secretary of State for Leaving the European Union has previously stated that the government will work with businesses and employers to ensure that any new immigration systems allows these companies to continue to thrive. In these cases migrants might be granted a five year working visa, but would not have access to claiming any in work benefits whilst in the country.

Whilst many EU countries have agreed terms on immigration with the UK, Germany is refusing to commence discussions until after Brexit has been triggered. Mrs. May also faces opposition from the House Of Lords, where Tory peers are backing a campaign by Labor and Liberal Democrats to protect the rights of EU citizens.

The final immigration system is not expected to be in place for another two years and the Home Office is keen to make it clear that a number of options are being considered. The Home Secretary, Amber Rudd suggested there would be no “cliff edge” approach to immigration. The cut-off date for EU migrants arriving into the UK is estimated to be 15th March.

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