This Is When Free Movement Of EU Citizens To Britain Will End

Photo: Kirsty Lee/EyeEm/Getty Images
There's been so much uncertainty – and so many conflicting reports – since Article 50 was triggered that you'd be forgiven for having tuned out of Brexit news completely. But today we did get one solid piece of information that's worth knowing about: when EU citizens will lose their right to freely move to the UK.
Last week, there was confusion and rumours of infighting between members of the government over the issue, but Theresa May's spokesperson has waded in and clarified things once and for all.
Free movement of EU citizens to Britain will come to an end in March 2019, aka 24 months after the prime minister triggered article 50 and the date by which the country will have officially left the EU, the BBC reported.
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Chancellor Phillip Hammond suggested on Friday that it would take longer (or "some time") before full migration controls between the UK and the European Union were introduced, leading some to assume immigration from the EU could continue in the same way after Brexit.
But the prime minister's spokesperson today set the record straight, saying free movement will indeed end when the UK leaves the EU. "It would be wrong to suggest it... will continue as it is now," they said.
In practice, this means that citizens from the other 27 EU member states will lose their automatic right to be able to work and live in the UK, which the government claims will allow the UK to better control who comes into the country.
While some, including Hammond, had suggested a "transitional period" of up to three years was needed to prevent disruption to consumers and businesses which rely on EU workers, International Trade Secretary Liam Fox shut the possibility down, saying it wouldn't be in keeping with the EU referendum result to maintain the status quo, reported the BBC.
"It would be wrong to speculate on what these [post-Brexit immigration controls] might look like or to suggest that freedom of movement will continue," said Theresa May's spokesperson.
"Free movement will end in March 2019. We've published proposals on citizen's rights. Last week the home secretary set out a registration system for EU nationals arriving post March 2019." As per plans outlined last week, from March 2019 EU citizens arriving to the UK will be made to go through a “registration and documentation” process.
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