United Kingdom – Possible Immigration Implications of the UK Vote to Leave the European Union

On Thursday June 23, 20162, a majority of the United Kingdom (UK) electorate voted to leave the European Union (EU) in a non-binding referendum. The result was 52% for Leave, 48% for Remain, on a turnout of 72% of potential voters.

The Prime Minister, David Cameron, has resigned, with effect from October. As of today, the UK government has not notified the European Council of any decision to leave the European Union (the next step in under Article 50 of the Lisbon Treaty once such a decision is made). Even once this notification is made, negotiations on the terms of the UK’s exit might take up to two years.

Until any withdrawal agreement is implemented, the legal situation of EU nationals currently living and working in the UK, and UK nationals resident in other EU countries, will not have legally changed.

However, any decision to leave and subsequent negotiations are likely to fundamentally change the UK immigration landscape, since the EU principle of freedom of movement of people would no longer apply to the UK.