Citizens of EU will be able to freely visit the UK without visas even post Brexit. However, for them to work in the region, they will have to obtain work visas.
In June 2016, Britain narrowly voted to leave the EU. The country is currently negotiating with EU officials to draw a roadmap for its exit.
During the first round of meetings, UK declared that it will provide all European citizens already living in the UK with a “settled status.” The biggest barricade will likely be the divorce bill. The EU seeks monetary compensation from the Britain. The settlement will cover the various commitments that the UK had made during its tenure in the EU, including pledges made by former British Prime Minister, David Cameron.
So far neither party has agreed on a divorce settlement and it is unlikely for it to be finalized in 2017.
The UK government will be publishing its plans for a post-Brexit immigration system later this year. The BBC has confirmed that as per the report, UK will allow free movement between EU citizens and the UK. However, sources in Whitehall note that EU citizens will not be allowed to stay in the UK indefinitely.
Ministers in Britain have repeatedly vowed that they will not try to extensively curtail the hiring of EU citizens within the UK. However, they do want to control immigration and will be working on a plan to achieve that. UK media has reported that it is likely that the region will issue a specific number of employment visas for citizens of the EU.
Conservative MP Andrew Bridgen who has supported Brexit has reacted to this development noting, "I don't think anybody ever intended we were just going to pull the shutters down and become a Little England. The same restrictions will apply to the UK citizens who wish to visit the Continent. I mean, did you really think we were going to have a visa system just to go for a weekend to Paris?”
However, other political leaders who have forcefully supported the Brexit, such as Nigel Farage, have accused the government of caving into EU’s demands.
The UK already allows citizens of the US and Australia to visit the region without a visa for a period up to six months.
Lord Green of Deddington, Chairman of Migration Watch UK, said: "The point is that a work permit system for EU workers would lead, in due course, to a massive decrease in net migration from the EU as low-paid workers (who comprise some 80% of the inflow) are squeezed out. The reduction could, by our calculation, be about 100,000 a year."
Our assessment is that the UK is looking for “soft” Brexit. It still wants to enjoy the benefits that being part of the EU afforded it and find a feasible method to curtail the immigration.