On Sunday, UK’s Prime Minister, Theresa May in an open letter to the nation, wrote her vision for Britain, post-Brexit. In the letter, she emphasized that the UK government will take back control of the country’s borders by ending the free passage of people. She went further to say that instead of operating an immigration system that considered people based on where they come from, they were going to create one that will be keen on the talents and skills of applicants.
If Britain does not strike a tremendously generous deal with the EU in addition to the one already-proposed by Theresa May, then the UK will likely not have the authority to decide the number of European Union nationals that can enter the UK after Brexit.
The Prime Minister’s words suggest that currently, the UK uses an immigration system that is based on the applicant’s country of origin and this system needs to be changed.
One true fact is that citizens of the EU automatically have rights to live and work in the UK while people from outside the EU go through stricter visa requirements. But then, this practice did not come as a result of Britain’s membership in the EU.
This is because the UK could open its borders to citizens of all nationalities — if they so wished — and grant them same entry rights as European Union citizens. This will bring all immigrants to the same level of scrutiny as their countries of origin have no significance. This may not be politically healthy, but then it is very possible.
Does the UK grant non-EU citizens the same entry rights?
Furthermore, one might think that because European Union citizens have automatic rights to cross the UK’s borders, all non-EU citizens have a level playing ground in visa consideration. But that’s not to be. Non-EU applicants require a visa unless they are citizens of any of the countries on the ‘exempt list.’ Some of these countries are the US, Canada, Brazil, Mexico, Australia, India, South Africa, Pakistan, and China. Visitors from countries on the UK’s exempt list are free to stay in the UK for up to 6 months before they would need a visa.
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