Immigration is the top question in the debate about the UK’s relationship with Europe and the approaching membership referendum, which could change the future for millions of people. Almost half of non – British immigration to the UK comes from Europe. Despite five years of policies designed to significantly reduce immigration, quarterly statistics released at the end of August 2015 has showed that immigration has reached the highest level on record. As a result, British government taking even further steps in order to reduce flow from the hundreds of thousands to the tens of thousands.
EU withdrawal could mean the end of free movement and the introduction of admission requirements for EU citizens who want to live and work in the UK. These could take various forms and time, however, the biggest challenge that will appear is that EU nationals will have to face the same rules as non – EU nationals. Under such a scenario, EU nationals who want to settle permanently in the UK would need to qualify for work, family unification or leave outside of the immigration rules. Temporary immigrants as students would provide an initial step into the UK, however, after this, they will have to satisfy the immigration requirement for work or family permits if they wish to stay in the UK. If they will not be able to do so, they will have to leave the country.
The statistics show that 66% of EU citizens move to the UK for the purpose of work. A further 19% reported show study as a main reason and only 10% reported family. If the UK will leave the EU, then the work visa will be a crucial factor in order to be able to enter the UK. Under the current immigration rules, non – EU national workers must acquire a sponsorship from the employer for a skilled job. Previously, the skilled job had to pay £20,800 per year. However since 2015, the wage required went up, to between £24,000 and £46,000. It is important to understand that EU nationals may face the same set of rules in future. As a result of proposed changes, it will be extremely hard for EU nationals to satisfy such requirement -in particular, those from new EU member states who are strongly overrepresented in low – skilled jobs. In 2014, only about one quarter of employed EU nationals who have arrived in the UK in the last 4 years were in the skilled jobs. As a result, only professional, managerial and technical occupations are most likely qualify for skilled working visas.
The other option that will open doors to the UK and provide a settlement is family. If the EU national faced the same set of requirements as non – EU national, those who wanted to bring their spouse to the UK will need to show the family income threshold. As a result, EU national will have to show that his income is over £18,600 depending if dependent children are included in the application (although this is being challenged in the Supreme Court). If this were to change, low-income citizens will not be able to bring their spouse in the UK.
In summary, EU citizens will still be able to come and settle in the UK if they face the same rules as non-EU citizens, but doing so will be much harder because of the skill and earning requirements for both work – related and family immigration.
Do you have questions and concerns about your immigration status? Are you under threat to be deported from the UK?
Our lawyers are here to help you with your immigration matters and answer all of your questions – PLEASE CALL !!
Photos: miluxian / 123RF Stock Photo