How Will Brexit Impact British Citizenship Applications?

Implications of Brexit

On 23rd June 2018 it will have been 2 years since the Brexit referendum took place in the UK. The results not only shocked the UK but the rest of the world as the implications across the board would be severe. Everything from trade to travel, immigration and finance will be affected in a major way leading to uncertainty in people’s lives and making it challenging to plan futures. No people have been affected more than those currently residing in the UK from other European countries or vice versa. Fortunately, those looking to move to the UK from the rest of the world won’t be impacted by the Brexit referendum, only those from EU countries.

What we know so far…

2 years in, what do we know in terms of rights for European nationals in the UK? Well, as with most of the Brexit negotiations so far, we don’t really know anything for certain. The government have stated that all EU nationals currently living in the UK or entering the UK during the implementation period (30th March 2019-31st December 2020) will be entitled to stay in the UK but will need to register if they choose to stay for longer than 3 months. Until the terms of the agreement are actually ratified and written in to law though this isn’t set in stone, it has simply been agreed by the EU and the UK government at this stage. The UK government are currently in discussions with Norway, Iceland, Lichtenstein and Switzerland about securing the status of their citizens living in the UK.

Apply For British Citizenship

No terms of post-Brexit British citizenship applications have been set out yet. From what is currently understood, it is though that the process is unlikely to change, the only difference is thought to be that those within the EEA will also have to apply for an ILR visa in the same way that foreign nationals outside of the EEA currently have to do. An applicant will have to have held this visa for at least 12 months (and met the numerous other guidelines) before they will be able to apply for British Citizenship.

Immigration Numbers

The main implication of Brexit is not necessarily the process of applying for visas or spouse visa UK, but more to do with how many people will be allowed the opportunity to do so. Net migration to the UK in the last year was 230,000 (down from 336,000 a year earlier) and the governments aim is to bring this down to the tens of thousands, which is a major reduction. In all likelihood immigration will be reserved for those bringing valuable skills to the UK in a similar way to how Australia currently operates.