Union Jack flags were flying high on Parliament Square to mark an important day for the United Kingdom – Brexit. The British formally concluded their membership with the European Union on Friday midnight marking January 31, 2020 as the official date of the exit.
After 47 long years of being a part of the European Union, Prime Minister Boris Johnson welcomed the “dawn of a new era”, and promised “real national renewal”.
The UK is now in the transition period of Brexit till December 31, 2020. Until then, the UK will continue to make their contribution to the EU and follow their rules too. However, there are going to be some changes even in this transition period. For instance:
- The UK government will not have to attend any EU summits henceforth and will have no say in the decisions made by the EU.
- UK will leave all political institutions and agencies of the EU. This means 73 UK MEPs will no longer hold their seats in the European Parliament. However, since the UK is now in the transition period and is following the EU rules, the European Court of Justice will have the final say over any legal disputes, for now.
- Although the UK will be unable to execute any trade deals independently while they are in the transition period, they will speak to countries about trading with them. Brexit supporters are positive that the UK’s economy will thrive on their trade policies.
- The burgundy gold passports will be replaced by the blue and gold passports that the UK has 30 years back. However, the existing burgundy passports will be valid until they expire.
- The Brexit department that was set up in May 2016 by former Prime Minister Theresa May has been disbanded. The negotiating team for the UK will now be based in Downing Street.
- The UK has released 3 million commemorative 50p coins in the market on January 31 bearing the inscription “Peace, prosperity and friendship with all nations”.
When the UK was a part of the EU, citizens belonging to member countries could freely move between all member countries, including the UK. With Brexit in place, there are going to be many changes in the immigration rules.
What are the Abrupt Changes in Immigration After Brexit?
For now, the UK is in the transition period, and immigrants can move freely till it ends the transition period in this year.
The Visa rules for travelling to the EU and the UK will remain the same until December 31, 2020. Citizens of the UK can continue living and working in the EU. The EU nationals can also live and work in the UK just as they have been doing.
What Happens After the Transition Ends on December 31, 2020?
Freedom of movement between the UK and EU will end for all, and new negotiations will be finalized in January 2021.
The UK government plans to introduce an Australia-style points-based immigration system in the country before the transition ends. All European nationals working and living in the UK will have to apply and get approved by the European Union Settlement Scheme to continue living and working in the United Kingdom.
There are 3.5 million EU nationals in the UK, and they have until June 2021 to apply to an EU Settlement Scheme. However, if there is a ‘no deal’ on future ties, then the deadline is the end of this year.
There are 1.3 million UK citizens in the EU in various member countries that will need to apply for a residence status as per the rules of that country.
What is the EU Settlement Scheme?
The UK has asked the citizens of certain countries to confirm their immigration status. So that they may be permitted to live and work in the UK after the transition period ends. These are:
- Citizens and their relatives from the EU
- Citizens of countries from the European Economic Area
Those that will be permitted to continue their stay will have access to benefits and funds. They will also be able to use the NHS and move around the UK freely. People must also be able to declare if they have any criminal cases against them before the year ends.
How will Brexit Impact UK Nationals Living, Working or Studying in Other EU Nations?
Every country has their own set of rules and regulations, and the EU member countries would probably impose the same regulations on UK nationals – living, working or studying, which they do on the people visiting their country from other parts of the world (that are not a part of the EU). They may also make a different set of rules for the UK, depending on the negotiations with them.
It is also possible that the UK students studying in the EU will experience a hike in their tuition fees as they will no longer be treated as domestic British students.