EU citizens could work in the UK 'visa-free' after Brexit, according to Government blueprint

Posted On: 
12th July 2018

EU migrants would be given the right to work in the UK "visa-free" in the future under the Government's Brexit blueprint, it has emerged.

The Brexit white paper calls for 'visa-free' travel between the UK and EU.
PA Images

The 100-page document says citizens coming to Britain from the continent will be allowed to "travel freely ... for tourism and temporary business activity".

In return, the Government would seek the same arrangements for British people aiming to live and work in Europe.

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The white paper said the immigration proposals were "consistent with the ending of free movement, respecting the UK’s control of its borders".

But the plans are likely to infuriate Brexiteers, who say leaving the EU should lead to a dramatic reduction in immigration.

The white paper, called 'The Future Relationship between the United Kingdom and the European Union', says: "The UK would seek reciprocal arrangements that would allow UK nationals to visit the EU without a visa for short-term business reasons and equivalent arrangements for EU citizens coming to the UK.

"This would permit only paid work in limited and clearly defined circumstances, in line with the current business visa policy."

Government officials were unable to say how long EU citizens would be allowed to travel to live and work in the UK without a visa after Brexit.

But the white paper does suggest that the Government post-Brexit immigration policy - which is yet to be agreed by ministers - will offer preferential treatment to EU migrants ahead of those from the rest of the world.

In another concession likely to anger Brexiteers, the white paper also reveals that the Government wants to enter into a so-called "association agreement" with the EU in order to maintain close links after Brexit.

It says: "To ensure that the future relationship between the UK and the EU is consistent and coherent, it should be structured around an overarching institutional framework.

"While the legal base that would need to be cited under the EU Treaties would be for the EU to determine, and would depend on the content of the institutional framework, precedent suggests that the UK’s proposal would take the form of an Association Agreement between the UK and the EU."

Elsewhere, the document confirms that the Government wants to agree a "common rule book" with the EU on regulations, and enter into a "free trade area" on goods.

In her foreword, Theresa May says: "In short, the proposal set out in this white paper would honour the result of the referendum.

"It would deliver a principled and practical Brexit that is in our national interest, and the UK's and EU's mutual interest. Together we must now get on and deliver it."


Meanwhile, new Brexit Secretary Dominic Raab's attempt to explain the Government's position to the Commons descended into farce when it emerged MPs had not seen copies of it before he got up to address them.

Speaker John Bercow was forced to suspend the sitting for five minutes while copies were hastily distributed to MPs, a situation Shadow Brexit Secretary Keir Starmer called a "shambles".

Mr Raab said: "Can I just apologise for the late arrival. We will look into what happened with the clerks and we will avoid it happening again."


PoliticsHome member KPMG has responded to the Brexit White Paper saying it will be welcomed by most businesses, because: "Although the document may not offer additional certainty on the final deal, it does provide some much sought after clarity on the UK’s negotiating position." Read the full response here.