For decades, the hospitality, retail, food and construction industries have taken particular advantage of the European Union’s rules allowing freedom of movement, meaning Europeans can work legally in any of the 28 countries that are members, even if they are unskilled laborers. Non-Europeans must obtain work visas under immigration rules that require graduate-level skills and a minimum annual salary of 20,800 pounds.
Now that the U.K. has voted to leave the E.U., though, that could all change. When the U.K. does finally untangle itself from its E.U. member-state neighbors — a process that many are promising will be complete within two years — it’s likely to start requiring European citizens to clear the same visa hurdles as other foreign workers. Three-quarters of the 2.2 million people from other E.U. countries currently working in Britain wouldn’t make the cut, according to the Migration Observatory at Oxford University.
Migrants Take the Blame for UK Unemployment
The Leave campaign convinced a slim majority of U.K. citizens, 52%, that it has been too easy for “migrant workers” from Europe to waltz into the country and take British jobs.
“We have absolutely no power to control the numbers who are coming with no job offers and no qualifications from the 28 E.U. countries,” former London Mayor Boris Johnson said in a speech before the vote. Read more