The Answer from Solicitors Online
What was the UK’s stance pre-Brexit?
The UK has always subscribed to the free movement of people within the EU. This means that UK nationals have been free to live in other EU countries, and similarly other EU nationals can work, study and live in the UK without a need for any type of visa. In addition, there has been no time limit imposed on how long an EU migrant can stay in the UK, for as long as the UK has been part of the EU, they have been free to live here indefinitely.
Will EU Citizens be allowed to stay in the UK post-Brexit?
There are around 3.3 million EU migrants living in the UK at the moment. Until the UK government has completed negotiations with the EU over the terms of the UK’s exit from the EU, there is no legal certainty over what will become of these 3.3 million EU migrants. The government has been reluctant to guarantee anything because in doing so, they may give away one of the best bargaining tools that they have, when it comes to negotiating the UK’s leave from the EU with EU leaders.
There have been attempts by action groups to get an amendment to the Article 50 bill, which contains the UK’s intention to trigger Article 50 and begin the process of leaving the EU. The amendment that many are seeking, is the right of EU migrants who have been living in the UK, to be able to continue living here. The House of Lords has also voted in favour of such an amendment.
Is it beneficial to allow EU Migrants to remain in the UK after Brexit?
EU migrants in the UK have contributed massively to the UK in areas ranging from Education, Healthcare, Science and the Public Sector. David Davis, the Secretary of State for leaving the European Union, stated that it could take Britain “years and years” to fill all the jobs that would otherwise have been performed by EU migrants.
In the Education sector, 16% of University Academics are EU migrants. This percentage increases when focusing on the top research Universities in the country. In some Russell Group Universities, EU migrants make up more than 30% of University staff. Not allowing them to stay would cause be a huge setback for the research programmes of British Universities and would also harm the UK’s global status in higher education.
In the field of Healthcare, over 10% of Doctors and 5% of Nurses in the UK are EU migrants. Not allowing them to remain in the UK, could cause severe staff shortages in the NHS, which in turn could result in a lower standard of care within the NHS for UK citizens.
The effects on the NHS is not the only thing that must be considered when thinking about whether EU migrants should be allowed to remain after Brexit. Many EU migrants have relied on the free movement within the EU and have now built their lives here in the UK. They have settled down in the UK, having started families here and built roots in the UK. It can therefore be argued that forcing them to leave would be a violation of their Human Rights. Article 8 of the Human Rights Act 1998 upholds the Right to the Family and Private life. This right covers the right not to be separated from your family. Those whose family life is based in the UK and who have here been for many years may see that their Human Rights are being put at Jeopardy if they are asked to leave the UK following Brexit.
The UK must consider the possible setbacks and harm to the nation as a whole and to the lives of it’s EU residents, when considering whether or not to allow EU migrants living in the UK to remain after Brexit. Many believe that the fairest decision would be to allow those who are already living here to remain, so that they can continue living here and contribute to the post Brexit UK Economy.
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