On Thursday 23rd June, the United Kingdom (UK) will will vote whether to remain in or to leave the European Union (EU).
Overview of the EU and UK’s membership:
The UK is one of 28 countries that makes up the EU and joined as early as 1973. The EU only has powers that its members decide to give it. There are a number of rules and principles that set out when and how the EU can act, the objectives it must follow and how agreement of laws and decisions are reached.
The UK and other Member States have granted the EU powers to make various kinds of laws that affect them and their citizens, but under certain conditions. The UK has a vote over these laws and an influence over the end result.
There are various institutions that make up the EU and help it to function. More information can be found on these at the following link: http://europa.eu/about-eu/institutions-bodies/index_en.htm The UK is represented in or is able to elect members onto all the institutions involved in taking decisions and making EU laws that affect the UK.
In most cases, the European Parliament shares responsibility with the European Council for making EU laws and for agreeing the EU’s budget, although the Council has wider decision making powers.
Special measures for the UK:
EU laws usually apply in the same way to all Member States but over the years, the UK has negotiated a special status for itself within the EU. This includes a set of exceptions, often called “opt-outs”, as well as wider protections which were secured as part of the new settlement for the UK, which the government negotiated in February 2016.
Where the UK has negotiated such exceptions, it is not bound by the EU in these areas. As an example, the UK has special status within the Economic and Monetary Union and retains control over its own economic and monetary policy. It is under no obligation to join the Euro, it does not participate in the Banking Union and thus retains responsibility for the supervision of UK banks.
Advantages of leaving the EU:
– An immediate cost saving as the UK would no longer contribute to the EU budget. According to Full Fact, it is estimated the UK paid in £13 billion and the EU spending on the UK was £4.5 billion.
– Anti-EU campaigners suggest there would be less pressure on the housing and service provision in the UK with less people entering the country. This could mean more adequate provision for those that remained in the UK afterwards.
– There would be no obligation whatsoever towards the EU community and the UK government would be in a position to act entirely for it’s own benefits.
– A potential for new trade and investment deals to be forged for the UK with major world-wide economies.
– Pro-EU campaigners think the UK may be able to re-establish itself as a truly independent nation with it’s own connections with Europe and the world-wide community.
Disadvantages of leaving the EU:
– The EU acts as a single market in which there are no tariffs imposed on imports or exports between Member States. According to Sky News, 50% of the UK’s exports go to the EU. The UK has benefits from trade deals between the EU and other world powers. “The EU is currently negotiating with the US to create the world’s biggest free trade area,” says The Economist, which would no doubt be highly beneficial to the UK economy.
The UK would be losing the negotiating powers that comes with being a Member State of the EU but would also be opening doors to forge it’s own trade agreements.
– Potential diminishing of inward investment as the UK would no longer be seen as a gateway into the EU. There are fears that car-makers could scale back or even end production in the UK as vehicles would no longer be exported tax-free to Europe.
– Leaving the EU could result in a large number of jobs being lost and a shortage of people remaining in the UK to cover those jobs. This could in turn result in a reduction of economic growth for the UK, at least initially.
Massive effects on immigration:
– Should the UK leave the EU, there would be a massive disadvantage for British citizens in terms of immigration to EU countries. The free movement that we have so far enjoyed, would come to an end and could in turn affect many businesses that use the benefits of the EU community to trade and conduct business.
– The private and family lives of individuals could be adversely affected in the UK left the EU as there would be no free movement between the UK and Member States. Normal immigration procedures would apply and unfortunately not all can meet some harsh requirements under the UK Immigration Rules, including the income threshold within the Spouse Visa rules.
– Anti-EU campaigners have commented on the fact that there has been an influx of Europeans, in particular East European citizens, in the UK, and if the UK voted to leave the EU, there would be less problems in terms of housing and service provision.
However, pro-EU campaigners have suggested that while recent pace of immigration has led to some difficulties, the overall affect has been overwhelmingly positive. In particular this is in reference to the economy boom with a large number of workers entering the UK and contributing to the British economy.
Should the UK leave the EU, there is potential for it to develop it’s economy without any bars from the EU, to such an extent to become a trade and investment hub. This could in turn attract foreign investors which would be beneficial to the UK and potential investors.
As we all know, the Immigration Rules are subject to change. Should the UK leave the EU, there is no saying that there may be some changes in the Immigration Rules (some would suggest, a lax in the Rules to making immigration easier into the UK, especially if leaving the EU results in disadvantages in terms of lack of workforce etc.).
We hope the above has provided some real insight into the UK’s involvement in the EU. Remember, our team is waiting to assist you with your immigration queries, regarding the EU or otherwise. Please contact us with your questions and to book a Consultation with us today. We are waiting to help you.