As many potential visitors to the UK will be aware, last year the UK held a national referendum on its membership of the European union. In a shock result, the UK decided to end its 40 plus year membership of the trading bloc. In this article, we look at the potential future for the UK and focus on migration.
There is little doubt that immigration was a key to the referendum result. The so called "leave" campaign was fought on the basis that outside of the UK and its open border area, the UK would be able to more tightly control migration. For would be migrants this is good and bad news. While undoubtedly for migrants within the EU, the end of the UK being part of the open border scheme means that they will no longer have an automatic right of entry to the UK. But with more tightly controlled EU migration, there will certainly be a gap for skilled migrants to take their place.
One of the big draws to the UK is its strong economic background. The country traditionally has high levels of employment, certainly higher than most European countries. But the future of this has been thrown into some doubt. At present, the British government is in the process of negotiating its exit from the union. There is currently no deal in place to replace the existing one, and these leaves the UK in a very precarious position with regards to its lucrative access to the European single market. The future is very unclear on where the UK will be as far as trade deals once the exit takes place in 2019. As trade is currently high on the agenda, it appears that it will be one the early items of business in the current discussions.
Much like the economic benefits, the UK has had freedom of movement within the EU. This position is highly likely to change. The new government has made the removal of freedom of movement a key target for the negotiations, and it's likely that this will change in some form, though it's so far unclear how.
The current situation in the UK is tumultuous, and the outlook is very unclear, but bear in mind that the UK is one of the world's most mature and diverse economies. It is likely that the UK will recover from any short term issues, as it has a huge trade deficit with the European union, and on that basis, it seems prudent that the union will seek to trade with the UK on a reasonable tariff. The UK is also one of the world's leader's in financial services and will still be an international hub outside of the EU. Once the structure of the exit deal is sorted the economic picture should clear up, and the UK will remain a strong target for migrants.