Published On: Mon, Jul 3rd, 2017

Britain Rolls Out Policy to Keep Financial Giants in London After Brexit

The Brexit process that will take Britain out of the EU has started even though Britain still needs to get its government in order to present a united front during the negotiation. Nobody knows for sure if Brexit will end will clear winners and losers – the EU on one side and Britain on the other side.  However, it is obvious that it is in the best interest of both the EU and Britain to walk off from the negotiations with a win-win situation.

As Brexit gets underway within the next 18 months, the fates of the 3 million EU nationals living in Britain and the 1 million UK nationals living within the EU hangs in the balance. The fate of UK nationals living in the EU is largely tied to whether Theresa May is able to achieve a soft Brexit or a hard Brexit. Interestingly, most of the EU nationals living in Britain are working in the financial sector – the same financial sector that drives the bulk of UK’s economy.

photo/ screenshot YouTube

If financial firms find a post-Brexit world uncomfortable, they might be forced to move their corporate headquarters from London to Frankfurt or Paris. However, the exit of European financial houses could trigger bigger losses for Britain in terms of lost revenue and serious labor problem. However, Mrs. May and the Home Office have started giving out clues on how it intends to make the Brexit process smooth so that EU firms don’t have to worry about moving their staff out of the country.

EU nationals get a “Settled Status”

EU nationals who have lived in the UK continuously for five years will get a chance to apply for “Settled Status” under new UK immigration laws. The Settled Status is not much different from the Indefinite Leave status that some non-European Economic Area nationals can get based on the 1971 Immigration Act. Settled Status simply gives EU nationals the right to reside in the UK, engage in lawful activities, use public funds, and start the application process for British citizenship. EU nationals with Settled Status  will also get a ID card backed by an entry  in the Home Office database.

Who qualifies for Settled Status?

As mentioned earlier, EU nationals who have been resident in the UK for five years before the specified cut-off date can apply for Settled Status. The cut-off date will be set somewhere in-between March 29, 2017 (when Article 50 was activated) and when the Brexit process is complete. EU nationals seeking to apply for Settled Status will be expected to be in the UK as the time of their application.

EU nationals who have not been residents for five years but who have been in the UK before the cut-off date will be allowed to apply for temporary status. The temporary status will buy them time to have 5 years under their belt to be eligible for Settled Status. Interestingly, the Home Office has said that EU nationals mean EU nationals and that there won’t be discrimination between different EU nationalities. Hence, people from Eastern Europe don’t have to worry that they’ll be regarded as “second-class citizens”.

Can the EU be benevolent towards Britain?

As Brexit negotiations get underway, it is obvious that the EU is coming to the negotiation table from a position of strength. Emmanuel Macron’s surprise victory in France has silenced the populist and nationalist tendencies flowing through Europe in the wake of the Brexit vote. More so, the fact that Theresa May’s Conservative Partly lost its parliamentary majority suggests that she doesn’t have the full backing of the House of Commons in her negotiations.

However, the Home Office has extended a warm offering on immigration for EU nationals and the EU should consider reaching out to find ways for a smooth Brexit negotiation.  An EU Brexit negotiator Michel Barnier, say the offer doesn’t go far enough – it’s becoming easy to detect a winner takes all expectation from the EU camp.

Author: Luis Aureliano

photo/ DANIEL DIAZ via pixabay

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