THERESA MAY'S BREXIT SPEECH
Theresa May’s Brexit Speech on the 17 January 2017 Says Grass Is Greener on the Other side
Theresa May, the UK prime minister, in her Brexit speech on the 17th January 2017 makes it clear that we are leaving the EU. Her introduction began with the grass is greener (on the other side).
Theresa May, started her speech by saying that ‘the British people voted for change. To leave the EU with our eyes open and accepting that there would be uncertainty but that there would be a brighter future for our children and grandchildren’.
As a business, whose clients also consistent of migrant families, I recall, client concerns during the referendum period. The concerns were surrounding the uncertainty as to the future and what it would mean for many businesses and families.
Discussions revealed that opinions among those in London and many outside of London such as Manchester, Leeds, Birmingham, among other cities, were divided as to remain or leave. There were numerous discussions over immigration and the expansion of the EU, about our NHS system and other aspects of our lives.
Turning to Theresa May’s Brexit speech, she goes on to say that negotiations play a key role and asks what kind of a country we want the UK to be? Her answer is that the UK should be stronger, fairer and more outward looking than before.
Before when? Before, I thought we were stronger. We were fairer. We needed workers and opened our doors. Places like Lancashire with the cotton industry boom. Outward looking. I thought that as a nation, we were all those things – which is why countries in Europe came together. Coming together meant that we enjoyed freedom of movement of people, goods and services.
So is it the case that we were not now, stronger, fairer and outward looking? Clearly, divided opinion divisive referendum campaigns have highlighted that we are not. However, we now most certainly, need to be.
Theresa May continues her speech saying we can be best friends with our neighbours. I thought France and the other countries were our ‘bff’ (best friends forever). I guess we are not friends anymore and are looking for new friends. The government has a plan to make friends. An international plan. A plan to include Scotland, Wales and Northern Ireland.
Theresa May’s Brexit Speech for the Irish Nationals
For those of you with Irish nationality Theresa May confirms the existence of a special bond between Ireland and the UK, and states that the union between Ireland and the UK began before the EU. I do not advocate counting chickens before they are hatched but in light of this there may be special arrangements for Irish nationals in the UK.
Theresa May’s Brexit Speech For European Nationals
For all other Europeans nationals – there are likely to be some restrictions on the ability to travel to and live and work in the UK. As Theresa May said, there will be “controls on the numbers from the EU” and the UK will continue to “attract the best internationally”. There is still support for skilled workers in the UK, but what the criteria and requirements will be is yet unknown. Whether Europeans would be subject to a points based system as other international workers are or whether a new system will be created, remains to be seen.
Remember that our Prime Minister, Theresa May was Home Secretary for 6 years, who brought in the changes into the UK Immigration Rules. The constant tightening up of the requirements led to a lack of or rather the ‘almost abolished appeal rights’ and greater financial requirements for migrants to join family members in the UK, to name a few, were brought in under her leadership.
It is clear from her speech that there will be controls and the future for Europeans in the UK remains uncertain. Many Europeans are under pressure and I would advise all Europeans to take advice on their particular situation and status including family members. Many will already have permanent status without knowing. Others may have mixed families. It is best to know your position and if you then need to take the relevant steps, these can then be taken. Applications for nationality may not be appropriate for all but it may be wise to discuss this to understand how it may affect you and your family members.