I last wrote a blog post about Brexit in July 2017- labelled Brexit 2 (European rights) and at that point, I think know one really knew what and when the final call would come. Well lo and behold, the final event is upon us!
Britain has said goodbye to 47 years of membership in what became the European Union and will be the first country to ever leave the EU. An emotional farewell in Brussels was on display as Auld Lang Syne was sung by the MEP’s as well as hand holding, tears and hugs.
At 11pm tonight in the UK (Midnight in Brussels), Great Britain will officially exit from the EU, just a “mere” 1317 days after voting to leave. There are mixed emotions from both the EU and the UK while Britain prepares for celebrations and commiserations to herald in the departure. A countdown clock will be projected on to the front of 10 Downing street and a series of events including marches, celebrations and candlelit vigils will be held by both sides of the fence.
The big question is: What and how will the changes be implemented?
Few changes will be implemented immediately. Numerous EU laws will continue to be in force. A transition period will be granted to both parties whereby the UK will stay within the EU’s economic arrangements until December 2020, however, the UK now no longer has a say in policy.
Free movement of people will also be granted until December 2020 when Britain aims to reach a permanent free trade agreement with the EU. The EU had mentioned that 11 months was too short a time to hash out a deal and that a chaotic break may still ensue without an when the transition period is over. Eu citizens will still be able to work and rent with their passports and it gives them time to regularise their stay to apply for work permit if they wanted to stay longer.
To regularise their stay in the UK, all EU citizens need to register with the governments EU settlement Scheme which is open until the 30th of June 2020. If one can prove they lived in the UK for 5 continuous years or more, will be eligible for settled status.
Those staying there for shorter periods should be able to qualify for pre- settled status which can be upgraded to settled status once the 5- year mark has passed. Many skilled EU members have opted to leave and there is a skills gap in the market which will need to be filled. Experts anticipate that the skills shortage will be filled by contractors until a more permanent solution is found to plug the skill gaps. The same courtesy will be extended to British workers in the EU.
Prime Minister, Boris Johnson, has been emphatic in his voicing that he has zero intention of extending the transition period, however, given the fact that it took 3 years to broker the deal, many are anticipating a protracted transition period. It is a matter of having to “watch this space” to see what unfolds.
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