The Brexit vote has sent shock waves across Europe and even into the wider world. Very few people thought that the UK would actually make this momentous decision, but in the end it has happened, and there will be consequences for everyone.
Here we list 10 things that you should know before moving to the UK in this post-Brexit era.
- For the next two years, there is not likely to be very much change in the arrangements that are currently in place regarding visitors to the UK. If you are moving to the UK on a temporary basis, for example to study for a degree or take up a fixed term job or internship, then there should be nothing to worry about.
- Starting from right now, however, there is considerable turbulence in the political and economic landscape in the UK, and there are signs that some UK citizens are not happy to welcome visitors from Europe or from other countries. This worsening in attitudes towards non-British people is relatively mild, as compared with the outright abuse and violence that some migrants have experienced across Europe, but it still might be a factor to consider if your plans include moving to the UK with children or vulnerable adults.
- When Brexit has fully taken place, there may well be a quota system in place to screen entrants according to the contribution they would make to British society. If you have qualifications and skills in areas that are currently short of workers in the UK, such as in health care and medicine, some teaching areas and technical fields, then there is a good chance that you will still be welcome in the UK, regardless what your country of origin is.
- There may be considerable turbulence in the value of the British pound over the next few years. This is because such a major change brings uncertainty to the markets, and investors do not like situations that are likely to change rapidly and in unpredictable directions. It may be sensible, then, to keep some of your savings in other banks outside the UK, and only take a portion of your cash with you in the short term until the markets have stabilised.
- As Brexit begins to take effect, it is likely that the conditions for entry into the UK will become higher and they will be strictly enforced. It will no longer be sufficient just to have a European Union passport. This is a good time to improve your English language skills, because a language requirement may become part of the conditions for entry.
- There may be some new regulations coming into force that differ from country to country. This means that anyone intending to move to the UK will have to find out what arrangements have been put in place by their own government in negotiations with the UK government. This is particularly important in areas such as insurance and health care. You will need to have up to date guidance on this from your own country before you leave.
- The rules for carrying out business activities between the UK and other countries will certainly change. If you are planning to import or export goods or services between the UK and other countries, then be prepared for added paperwork and new rules on sales tax, customs, tariffs etc. Activities which were simple and cost-effective under EU rules may become more complicated and more expensive after Brexit, at least in the short term.
- On the plus side, there may be opportunities for new ventures through contracts signed directly between British and foreign partners. This could be a great time to move to the UK with an international firm, because a whole raft of new contracts will be signed up soon, and these may well include guarantees on salary, pension, healthcare etc. from the very start.
- The right to live in the UK may partly depend upon family relationships and there is likely to be some new legislation on these matters. If you intend to move to the UK for family reasons, then you will need to gather all your birth, marriage and residency documents, etc. together so that you can make the best possible justification for entry to the UK.
- Finally, there is still a lot of uncertainty about what effects Brexit will have. This means it would be sensible to have a plan B, just in case your plan to move to the UK has to be delayed or cancelled. Some people are considering alternative destinations such as moving to Canada or to one of the other European countries. The Netherlands and the Scandinavian countries might offer a suitable alternative, for example. Others are just holding back for a while, or choosing to go to the UK anyway, but rent rather than buy a house.
This is very much a time to wait and see what happens. But if your plans include moving to the UK soon, then these 10 points will help you think about the implications of the Brexit process for you in the months and years ahead.