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How will Brexit affect EU expats living and working in the UK?

The recent Brexit result has sent shockwaves all over Europe, and under Article 50 of the Lisbon Treaty, the UK has two years to leave the EU. There has been particular concern among EU expats currently living and working in Britain, and those who intend to move to, work in and set up a business in the UK in future. Will EU expats have to move out of Britain? Will new restrictions be imposed for those moving to the UK? Although nothing concrete has been set in place as of yet, speculation has been rife.

Before the vote

Citizens of any state that is a member of the EU are presently free to live and work anywhere in the bloc. Before the vote, leave supporters maintained that EU citizens already lawfully residing in the UK would not be affected by the result; however, remain campaigners said that EU citizens would lose their ‘automatic right’ to work in the UK, and more restrictions are likely to be implemented that will make working in Britain more difficult [http://www.theguardian.com/politics/2016/jun/24/what-does-brexit-mean-for-eu-citizens-in-britain-and-brits-in-europe]. This stark contrast in claims created a lot of confusion in the run up to the vote, and everyone is still unsure about what will happen next.

Expert expat predictions

Experts have predicted that workers will probably not be able to move as freely through Europe as is currently the case. Nevertheless, changes will happen gradually as a new system takes time to establish itself [http://www.telegraph.co.uk/money/consumer-affairs/will-brexit-mean-i-can-no-longer-work-in-britain/]. A new trading relationship will also need to be created with the EU.

Furthermore, it is thought that although EU citizens already residing in the UK are unlikely to be affected, there may be new administrative procedures put in place, such as visas or work permits, for those who don’t already live and work in Britain. An Australian or US-style points system may also be implemented.

The personal finances of EU expats living in Britain will also be affected. The fall in sterling and instability of the pound means that any money expats send to families living overseas will not be worth as much as it was [http://www.bbc.co.uk/news/business-36606847].

It remains to be seen how EU expats living, working and setting up business in the UK will be affected in light of the Brexit vote. If you are in the process of setting up a business in Britain, Goodwille can provide you with expert legal and financial advice to help you to navigate UK laws and customs. Contact us now for more information.