Many businesses are concerned about what will happen if the UK ultimately pulls up the drawbridge and imposes strict immigration controls using an Australian style points system – something which is already in place and severely restricts the ability of non-EU residents to live and work in the UK.
The borders will not automatically be closed to non UK residents and transitional arrangements will have to be negotiated as part of a post-Brexit regime. Depending on the outcome of those negotiations, there may be no automatic right for UK citizens to travel and work outside the UK, or for UK businesses to freely recruit staff from the EU. This will potentially cause major problems for some UK businesses, already struggling to fill certain skills gaps.
We may also see a surge in the numbers of EU workers already working in the UK applying for indefinite leave to remain in the UK so that they can avoid any immigration restrictions that are imposed. Currently, they will need to demonstrate that they have lived in the UK for at least five years, although it is possible that the UK will increase these requirements.
Individuals who wish to work in the UK may have to satisfy immigration controls imposed by the UK Government and UK citizens who wish to work in the EU may have to satisfy the immigration policies adopted by the country in which they wish to work.
If you need expert immigration advice, our lawyers can help. Call us free on 0370 1500 100 or send our Referendum team an email with any questions.
Omer Simjee – Partner, Employment & Immigration
Telephone: +44 (0)121 214 5406
Mobile: +44 (0)771 115 5985