EU citizens will now lose free access to the UK in 2019
Citizens of the European Union (EU) have the right to live, work, and study across the bloc. But that right—known as freedom of movement—will come to an end in the UK in two years time.
The British government confirmed today (July 31) that freedom of movement will end in March 2019, after Britain officially leaves the EU. A spokesperson for the prime minister’s office said it was wrong to suggest free movement would “continue as it is now” once Britain leaves the EU, the BBC reports. The spokesperson didn’t clarify what Britain’s immigration system would look like after the date, saying “it would be wrong to speculate on what these might look like.”
The announcement will likely worry businesses across the country. EU migrants currently make up over 20% of the labor force in at least 18 British industries—from fruit and vegetable processing to the hotel industry—according to the Office for National Statistics. Many are worried that the end of freedom of movement will result in vital vacancies remaining unfilled.