A recent poll of polls held by polling firm Whatukthinks, has shown that the UK now would rather remain a member of the European Union than leave it. This result is in stark contrast and a complete reversal of the original poll held in 2016. The result shows that now the UK would vote 52% to remain in the union and 48% would be in favour of leaving. This close result shows the fine margins involved in the decision and is really only a small swing away from the original result. Considering the lack of progress by the British government in their negotiations, the result may or may not be surprising. Depending on the point of view, the negotiation strategy of both sides could affect this result as much as the news that surrounds it. The situation is still very much up in the air and the high level of uncertainty is still a factor in public sentiment on the issue.
Another scenario that may change the opinions of the British public is the impending attempt by former Foreign Secretary Boris Johnson to try to wrestle control of the Conservative party and become Prime Minister. In recent days the news has becoming increasingly Boris Johnson centric and it is believed that he will launch a leadership bid in the coming days. If he does, it threatens to destabilise the party and the negotiations. As one of the chief architects of Brexit, Johnson was instrumental in the UK voting to leave the EU and his reticence to launch a leadership bid at the time was a surprise. He's a highly popular and effective minister and has maintained his high profile that was gleaned from his time as London's Mayor.
Another current Factor in the instability around whether Britain remains or leaves the European Union is the current value of the pound. The value of Britain's currency was severely hit in the aftermath of the shock referendum result and sent shockwaves through the financial markets. The markets went into panic over the potential future of Britain's trading relationship with the European Union. Ever since the initial drop, the pound has not recovered to anything like the level it was before, such is the worry about Britain's economic future outside of the European Union. This fear is only compounded by seeming lack of a cogent alternative plan for Britain. Britain's infrastructure, and particularly its economy, relies heavily on the European Union, this is unlikely to change after Brexit and is one of the reasons that the UK is so worried. Britain is one of the world's biggest exporters of financial services and is a European financial centre for many banks, the decision to leave the European Union has meant that banks have been left with no choice but to leave the UK in order to trade with the rest of the European markets. This hammering of the pound as meant that products and services are already more expensive than they were a year or two ago and in real terms people are already paying the price of Brexit - but many wonder how much worse it could get.
One of the biggest worries for many regarding the UK's relationship with the European Union is whether immigrants will be able to maintain their ability to live and work in the UK. Nowhere is this worry more real than for EU citizens and their concern about maintaining their ability to exercise their freedom of movement right to remain in the UK. So far the UK has guaranteed their rights - but as this is one of the UK's potential trump cards, it seems unlikely that freedom of movement remain in place.
What is likely is that the UK’s future relationship with immigration will be starkly different. What this means for visa holders is unclear, and it is likely that the UK will actually extend rights for those on a visa to make up for the shortfall in potential staff as a knock on effect of freedom of movement coming to an end. Britain will need to harness a new generation of immigration from outside of its traditional base in order to keep the British economy growing, especially when it is going to come up against the significant strain of losing its biggest trading partner - the EU.
The future for Brexit is still very unclear. With the UK still sat on the fence, is it really right that the British government has taken such a tough stance? For many, the lack of nuance has been the most worrying facet of the negotiations thus far. It seems that the right of the Conservative party may indeed get their wish for a so-called “hard Brexit” and if Boris Johnson does become Prime Minister, who knows the direction that will be taken. Will he continue to appeal to the populist vote? If so he may go even harder against the EU than the current set up and potentially set the UK on a course of self destruction that would be hard to come back from.
It does seem increasingly likely that in March 2019 the UK will leave the European Union without any replacement deal in place - a nightmare scenario for many. If this does happen, all bets are off as to Britain's short term future. The only consolation is that the UK will at least have some trading conditions set up with Europe, but these are far from what the UK currently has and will require huge changes to take place to the customs systems of the UK - a process that normally takes years, to take place in as short a time frame as possible. If one thing is certain, Britain's politicians have done nothing to protect the public and everything to protect themselves.
If you need help cementing your status in the UK after Brexit then please get in touch. Our experienced immigration solicitors can help you by looking at your situation and helping you and your family to devise a plan for remaining in the UK.