There are over 3 million nationals of other European Economic Area (EEA) member states resident in the United Kingdom and approximately 1 million UK nationals living elsewhere in the EEA. Current EU free-movement rules mean their rights are very similar (although not identical) to those of citizens. However, their status after Brexit is unclear.
- This will be the first topic on the agenda for the Article 50 negotiations when they begin after the UK general election on June 8.
- Uncertainty about future status is already reducing the United Kingdom’s attractiveness to migrants from elsewhere in the EEA.
- This affects particularly the most highly skilled and mobile individuals.
- Securing agreement will require both sides to compromise; this will be an early test of the UK government’s willingness to make concessions.