UK Prime Minister Theresa May is expected to announce the end of free movement to the UK this March.
It has been claimed that May will clarify her approach to EEA (European Economic Area) free movement around the same time that she plans to trigger Article 50.The announcement is predicted to set a cut-off date of around mid-March, after which EEA nationals coming to the UK may no longer have the right to stay on a permanent basis, whilst those who arrived before the announced date could see their rights protected.After this point in time, new EEA arrivals to the UK could be subject to immigration control potentially involving a new visa system.Mainstream media reports that such a scheme might be similar to the current system (work-based and restricting access to public funds), but we are yet to receive any definite information on how the UK immigration landscape will change to accommodate EEA nationals.
The early nature of this announcement is aimed at providing clarity to both the European public and political negotiations, with the ultimate goal of a ‘quick deal’ on the matter during exit negotiations.Whilst the media present this as a firm development in the Br-exit-saga, it is important to remember that post-Br-exit policy is still far from decided. The House of Lords is yet to scrutinise the government’s plans to leave the European Union, including potential measures on EEA immigration, and we are not yet able to calculate the response from key European players such as Germany.
May herself has emphasised that the Home Office is looking at a range of potential UK immigration options for a post-Br-exit Britain and that the final system can only be decided upon after necessary negotiation and preparation.
SSW is withholding its judgement on the likelihood of this government move being made so soon