A Nation in Disbelief – What Happens Now?
Today’s announcement that the Leave campaign has prevailed has come as a shock to many people. Not only have the British public chosen to exit the EU, but the UK Prime Minister David Cameron has resigned.
Furthermore, a no-confidence motion has been made against Opposition leader, Jeremy Corbyn and Scotland’s First Minister Nicola Sturgeon has made clear that her country will launch another independence referendum following today’s referendum result.
So what happens now? How should EU migrants move to solidify their residency in the UK? Will they require work permits in the future? Should they rush to obtain Permanent Resident cards and/or British Citizenship? Will employers risk hiring EU workers if their right to reside in the UK is in doubt?
So many questions, and I am afraid, very few answers.
The first steps
Around 8am this morning, an emotional David Cameron stood outside Number 10 and announced his inevitable resignation from the leadership of the Conservative Government. In his speech he stated that, for the sake of certainty and stability, he would remain at his post until October. And most importantly, he would not be the one to evoke Article 50, the trigger that starts the two-year exit process, this would be left to his successor.
Obviously, the most pressing concern for the Government now is to reassure the markets, both domestic and international and elect a new leader.
The economic earthquake following Britain’s decision to leave the European Union has already had ramifications on a global scale as markets were hit hard and the Sterling fell to its lowest level in 30 years.
But it is not just the FTSE that has been pummeled. Almost every market around the world has experienced massive volatility. In Asia, stock markets have been thrown into turmoil, with the Japanese stock market briefly suspended as the Nikkei 225 plummeted in the biggest one-day fall since the country was forced to stomach the Fukushima earthquake in March 2011. The Dow Jones is expected to open more than 700 points lower this afternoon, while the S&P 500 and Nasdaq futures also plummeted 106 points and 227 points respectively. Shares in European banks have been flying out then door.
Scotland and Ireland
Leaving the EU may not just result in the UK breaking away from Europe, the break-up of the Union itself may be an unintended consequence.
There will be concern in Dublin about the implications of the vote on the border with Northern Ireland. Sinn Fein has already said that the decision will open up an opportunity for a referendum on Northern Ireland’s membership of the UK. A majority of the country voted to Remain.
Scotland is understandably furious. Every area of the country voted in favour of remaining in the EU. More importantly, many of those who voted to stay in the Union, in a referendum held less than two years ago, only did so because Westminster threatened to exclude Scotland from the EU. Now they are being forced out anyway.
EU nationals living in the UK
All the main political parties have gone to great lengths today to reassure EU nationals living in the UK that their status will remain the same, at least for the time being.
But who could blame them for being angry and hurt? For months now they have had to endure the Leave campaign’s fearmongering and lies about their presence in the UK. They woke up this morning to discover that a majority of the British population not only listened to the rhetoric, but agreed with it.
Our advice is for EEA migrants who have been in the UK for over six years to apply for British Citizenship. To do this, they will need to obtain a permanent residence card and pass a Life in the UK and English language test.
Our team of expert solicitors can assist you with collating the information required to make an application for a permanent residence card or naturalisation, for both you and your family, and we will provide all the legal advice and support you need.
Based in the heart of London, OTS Solicitors specialises in Immigration law. Our friendly, expert team are committed to delivering the best results for our Immigration clients. If you wish to make an appointment, please phone our office on 0203 959 9123.