Brexit White Paper published | Hudson McKenzie

Brexit White Paper published

February 13, 2017 | Immigration, Latest Thinking, News

Brexit White Paper

The Government has published the Brexit White Paper setting out the Prime Minister’s plans for leaving the European Union. It comes after MPs voted in favour of Theresa May triggering Article 50 by 498 votes to 114. The 77 page document sets out the government’s vision of what they are seeking to achieve from UK exiting the EU.

There are 12 main objectives which have been set out for negotiation, Secretary of State David Davis made a statement in the House of Commons, whereby he stated:

“This is based on the 12 principles that will guide the government in fulfilling the democratic will of the people of the UK.  These are:

  • Providing certainty and clarity where we can as we approach the negotiations.
  • Taking control of our own laws and statute book.
  • Strengthening the Union by securing a deal that works for the whole of the UK.
  • Maintaining the Common Travel Area and protecting our strong historic ties with Ireland.
  • Controlling immigration from the European Union.
  • Securing the rights for European Union citizens already living in the UK and the rights of UK nationals living in the European Union.
  • Protecting and enhancing existing workers’ rights.
  • Ensuring free trade with European markets, forging a new strategic partnership with the EU including a bold and ambitious free trade agreement and mutually beneficial new customs agreement.
  • Forging ambitious free trade agreements with other countries across the world.
  • Ensuring the United Kingdom remains the best place for science and innovation.
  • Co-operating in the fight against crime and terrorism.
  • Delivering a smooth, orderly exit from the European Union.

 These 12 objectives amount to one goal: a new, positive and constructive partnership between Britain and the European Union, that works in our mutual interest.”

From an immigration perspective, the main ones for focus are:

  • Maintaining the Common Travel Area and protecting our strong historic ties with Ireland.
  • Controlling immigration from the European Union.
  • Securing the rights for European Union citizens already living in the UK and the rights of UK nationals living in the European Union.
  • Protecting and enhancing existing workers’ rights.

The ties between UK and Ireland have been strong and the plan is to maintain these and the Common Travel Area.

“Both the UK and Irish Governments have set out their desire to protect this reciprocal treatment of each other’s nationals once the UK has left the EU. In recognition of their importance in the Belfast Agreement, the people of Northern Ireland will continue to be able to identify themselves as British or Irish, or both, and to hold citizenship accordingly.”

“We want to protect the ability to move freely between the UK and Ireland, north-south and east-west, recognising the special importance of this to people in their daily lives. We will work with the Northern Ireland Executive, the Irish Government and the Crown Dependencies to deliver a practical solution that allows for the maintenance of the CTA, while protecting the integrity of the UK’s immigration system.”

In terms of controlling immigration, Britain have always stated that their main aim is to take back control of the borders and reduce migration in to the UK, still ensuring that highly-skilled immigration is permitted and skilled workers from around the world, including the EU remain welcome always.

This will result in an end to the Free Movement Directive, which means that EU nationals will be subject to the UK law.

The question most people are concerned with, is how will Brexit affect EU citizens currently residing in the UK and other immigration related matters. The Prime Minister has stated that this will work on a reciprocal basis, whereby the terms they negotiate will depend on what the Member state they are negotiating with has to offer.

The UK currently has approximately 2.8 million EU nationals residing in the UK and around 1 million Britons are resident in EU countries. The paper states:

“While we are a member of the EU, the rights of EU nationals living in the UK and UK nationals living in the EU remain unchanged. As provided for in both the EU Free Movement Directive (Article 16 of 2004/38/EC) and in UK law, those who have lived continuously and lawfully in a country for at least five years automatically have a permanent right to reside. We recognise the contribution EU nationals have made to our economy and communities.

“Securing the status of, and providing certainty to, EU nationals already in the UK and to UK nationals in the EU is one of this Government’s early priorities for the forthcoming negotiations. To this end, we have engaged a range of stakeholders, including expatriate groups, to ensure we understand the priorities of UK nationals living in EU countries. This is part of our preparations for a smooth and orderly withdrawal and we will continue to work closely with a range of organisations and individuals to achieve this. For example, we recognise the priority placed on easy access to healthcare by UK nationals living in the EU. We are also engaging closely with EU Member States, businesses and other organisations to ensure that we have a thorough understanding of issues concerning the status of EU nationals in the UK.

The Government would have liked to resolve this issue ahead of the formal negotiations. And although many EU Member States favour such an agreement, this has not proven possible. The UK remains ready to give people the certainty they want and reach a reciprocal deal with our European partners at the earliest opportunity. It is the right and fair thing to do.”

Therefore, depending on the deal UK strikes with a particular member state will determine the status of the EU national from that country.

If you are an EU national or a UK business employing an EU national affected by the Brexit White Paper, contact us on +44(0)20 3318 5794 or via email at londoninfo@hudsonmckenzie.com to find out what your options are and how to secure your rights to live and work in the UK.