Brexit Update: Visa Talks Commerce

Post-Brexit visa-free travel from EU to the UK to be maintained, but Not for Work or Study

The British government is looking to maintain visa-free travel to the country for European Union (EU) visitors after Brexit, according to the BBC. However, the visa-free status will not apply to EU citizens seeking to work, study or settle in the United Kingdom.

The U.K.’s Home Office says controlling immigration is more than just managing the physical border, but also includes controlling access to work and benefits.[1] Retaining sovereignty over immigration was central to the Vote Leave campaign last summer.

Brexit negotiations officially began in June after a snap parliamentary committee failed to give Prime Minister Theresa May a bigger majority. In fact, her party’s position in the House of Commons went from a clear majority to a plurality, which forced the Conservatives into a union with a right-leaning Irish party.

Although preliminary talks about withdrawal arrangements have begun, it may be a while before both sides negotiate a new trade deal, according to ministers. Originally it was hoped that trade talks would begin in October, but ministers say that negotiations are more likely to start in 2018. Given the two-year timeline for Brexit, actual negotiations could be reduced to as little as 10 months.[2]

The upcoming German elections are also expected to hamper the negotiation process. However, waiting until after the German vote could be a positive development for negotiators.

Former Northern Ireland Secretary and Vote Leave campaigner Theresa Villiers recently said that, “Moving the second stage to a period when the new German government will be in place… can only be helpful for the negotiations.”

The German federal elections are scheduled to take place on 24 September. While far-right parties have made inroads in recently held municipal elections, Chancellor Angela Merkel remains the frontrunner.

Eurosceptic parties were recently defeated in France and the Netherlands. However, anti-EU sentiment is said to be spreading throughout the region, a trend that is expected to continue so long as the European migrant crisis persists.

[1] BBC (17 August 2017). “Brexit: UK looks to keep visa-free travel from EU.”

[2] Andrew Sparrow and Heather Stewart (17 August 2017). “Brexit trade talks may be reduced to as little as 10 months.” The Guardian.

[3] Andrew Sparrow and Heather Stewart (17 August 2017). “Brexit trade talks may be reduced to as little as 10 months.” The Guardian.

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