We continue being approached by European nationals who are concerned about the EU Referendum, worrying what will happen to them and their ability to live here if Britain does not vote to stay in the EU. On 23rd June the UK will settle the question which has been rumbling close to the surface of British politics for a long time. Should this country remain within the European Union or leave this organisation. Both sides insist that the outcome of the vote will settle the matter once and for all. But how did we get here? For those of us who remember, it all began with the Conservative manifesto which promised to hold an in/out referendum on Britain’s membership of the European Union. David Cameron, our Prime Minister, made this promise at a time that he was under pressure from the back benchers within his own party and worried about losing votes to UKIP. Most commentators believe that Mr Cameron would not have wanted a referendum and now he is desperate to secure Britain’s place inside the EU, having won the elections. He embarked on a tour of EU capitals trying to renegotiate Britain’s terms of membership, but even within his own party there are some members who are campaigning for British exist or “Brexit”. The greatest uncertainty associated with leaving the EU is that no other country has ever done so before, so nobody really knows what the outcome will be.
Under EU law Britain cannot prevent anyone from another member state from coming to live in the United Kingdom. Let us not forget that Britains benefit from the equivalent right to live, sunbathe, retire and work anywhere else in Europe. Whilst some argue that immigration has led to difficulties with housing and service provision, the net effect has been very positive as most Europeans come here to work. The effect of leaving the EU is complex. Pro-EU campaigners suggest that 3 million jobs will be lost if Britain goes it alone. On the other hand a drop in immigration would mean more jobs for the locals, but labour shortage could also hold back the economy, reducing the potential for growth. Is it best for the economy to reduce the pool of candidates employers can choose from? According to Professor Adrian Favell from the London School of Economics limiting the freedom of movement will deter the brightest and the best of the continent from coming to Britain.
So if you can vote on 23rd June 2016, ask yourself do you think the United Kingdom should remain a member of the European Union? Eligibility to vote will be for British citizens resident in the UK, citizens of Ireland, Malta and Cyprus, Commonwealth citizens resident in the UK, Commonwealth citizens resident in Gibraltar and British citizens resident overseas for less than 15 years. It means that more than 700,000 ex pats living abroad for more than 15 years will not have a say in the referendum. The latest poll states that 50% of the vote support Brexit and 50% would like to remain, but don’t forget how wrong the opinion polls got it in the last elections.
What do we think at Danielle Cohen Solicitors? We say let’s not take this dangerous gamble with potentially disastrous consequences on all fronts, not only immigration. Leave this Pandora’s box closed.