Published on : December 29, 2020
The EU and the British citizens will be confronted with the reality of the post-Brexit era from the start of 2021 as the transition period ends.
Borders will once again return. Citizens on either side will no longer enjoy the freedom of movement to study, work or retire across the European Union.
EU nationals will now be treated as non-UK passport holders at the borders. However, Britons living in EU countries and EU citizens in the UK will retain their rights according to the Withdrawal Agreement made in late 2019.
Apart from Covid-19 restrictions crimping travel, tourists are likely to see further restrictions. For now, at least both the UK and EU have agreed to keep travel visa-free.
However, the EU is likely to stop British passports at its automated e-gates. It means that long queues at staffed passport booths.
EU citizens entering the UK can use the national ID card till October 2021. Only passports will be accepted after that for a stay up to six months. Under current guidance, they can continue using British e-gates.
Details of the EU-UK Brexit deal for business travellers are yet to be made public. Business people wanting to attend meetings or conferences beyond borders are likely to be exempt from visas.
Other UK business travellers will require a visa and/or a work permit in line with each EU country’s laws.
EU students coming to the UK for studies will need a visa from 2021 for courses longer than six months. They will also need to pay higher tuition fees. The steep hike can be four times as much for degrees like MBA or medicine at top universities.
UK universities fear that this burden can force European students to choose EU institutions over British universities.
There were about 143,000 EU students in Britain in the 2018-2019 year period. The UK is the second-most popular education destination after the United States.
About 1.3 million UK citizens are living in EU countries. More than four million EU citizens were living in the UK before the end of the transition period.
People wanting to emigrate elsewhere after 1 January 2021 will be in a different situation. The end of freedom of movement will bring back the status accorded to the ‘third country’ level. It will include income, health insurance, and language requirements.
It would be just as tricky for Britons wanting to move to another EU country. They will have to face national immigration laws while doing so.
The UK, on its part, has brought the points-based system from 2021. It will significantly make it harder for EU citizens to move into the UK.
The new points-based immigration law will evaluate factors like age, funds, English language ability and requirement to pay health surcharge. There will be caps on some of the immigration channels as well.
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