‘EU nationals to face same visa requirements as others, post Brexit’

The immigration issue has played a major role in the EU referendum campaign last year.

The Dollar Business Bureau 

UK’s Immigration Minister Brandon Lewis said on Thursday that after the Brexit deadline, nationals from European Union (EU) countries will have to face same visa requirements as the migrants from non-EU nations.

Freedom of movement is an aspect of the UK’s EU membership and this will end once the country exits the bloc, Lewis said.

This would mean that migrants from the 27-member bloc will face similar visa restrictions as Indian nationals, as soon as Britain leaves the EU - the deadline for the same is March 2019.

“Free movement of labour ends when we leave the EU in the spring of 2019. I’ll be very clear about that,” Lewis told a leading international news agency.

“Obviously, there’s a period of negotiation we’re going through with the EU at the moment. But we are very clear that free movement ends. It’s part of the four key principles of the EU. When we leave, that, by definition, ends,” he added.

Around 3 million nationals of other EU nations are living in the UK, and several sectors of the country’s economy depend on foreign workers.

The immigration issue has played a major role in the EU referendum campaign last year, with UK’s ministers promising to take the control back of Britain’s borders as they go for Brexit negotiations.

Lewis, however, did not provide details on how the UK government is planning to manage the issue of migration after the Brexit.

“These would be revealed in a white paper later this year, and that a new immigration bill would go through Parliament in 2018,” he said.

In order to minimise the social and economic impact of the Brexit, the UK government has assured an ‘implementation period’ after the leaving of UK from the EU and has also commissioned a detailed study with regards to the costs and benefits of EU nationals in the country.

The report to be prepared by the Migration Advisory Committee of UK is likely to come out in September next year, six months prior to Brexit.

The report will assess the social and economic costs and benefits of migrants from EU to the Britain’s economy, their impact on the competitiveness, and to find out if there would be any benefit to focus on migration for the high-skilled jobs.

The Dollar Business Bureau - Jul 28, 2017 12:00 IST