It’s not clear at the moment when the British Government will be able to begin the process of leaving the EU. We have written about the latest developments here, and we encourage you to read about them. Until we know more, there will be significant uncertainty. But it’s clear that nothing will change for EU nationals living in the UK for some time.

In a series of questions below, we consider the possible impact of the referendum on your future in the UK.

Can I continue to live in Britain?

For the time being, yes. However, Theresa May’s government has indicated that it wishes to pursue a “hard Brexit”. We have explained what that means here. But in brief, a “hard Brexit” means that Britain will look to restrict the movement of people into Britain from the EU. 

“Let me be clear.  We are not leaving the European Union only to give up control of immigration again. And we are not leaving only to return to the jurisdiction of the European Court of Justice.” – Theresa May

It’s unclear what this means for EU nationals currently living in the UK, and there is strong reason to believe that your rights won’t be affected if you’ve already been living here. But it may have an impact on anyone who may want to move to the UK in the future. 

If you are concerned about your ability to stay in the UK after Brexit and are considering applying for citizenship, please refer to our guide on applications for citizenship.

Can I continue to work in Britain?

Yes. At the moment, all EU laws continue to apply within the UK, which means that all your rights as EU citizens (including the right to work in the UK) are protected. There may be some economic uncertainty in the years following the outcome of the referendum. We have already seen a significant drop in the pound, and some companies have announced job cuts.

But the position might change as it becomes clearer how the post-Brexit settlement will look. We will continue to monitor the situation and provide updates and guidance when more information is available.

Do I now need a visa to fly to Britain?

No. Until negotiations between the EU and the UK are concluded, all EU citizens have full rights to travel within the EU without visas or restrictions.

What happens to my company in the UK?

Nothing – business continues as usual. The referendum result will have no impact on your ability to do business in the UK. If you run a company in the UK, which has been established in accordance with UK company law, the company can continue operating as it has prior to the referendum.

Even if the UK withdraws from the single market, your company would not be legally affected. However, any potential restriction on your ability to export to the EU or import from the EU may affect your business. We will continue to monitor the situation for any developments and will update this guide as needed.

I’m a student in the UK, can I continue to study here?

Yes. All your rights as an EU citizen (including the right of free movement) continue to be protected at least until any negotiations between the EU and the UK on the UK’s withdrawal from the EU are concluded. This is unlikely to happen within the next two years.

Will I continue to have access to public services?

Yes. All the rights will continue to apply for the time being.

What if I am a victim of or witness abuse because of my nationality?

Unfortunately, there have been some reports of immigrants being subject to verbal or, more rarely, physical abuse since the referendum results were announced.

We would advise that you take all such incidents very seriously. Ignore the wrongdoer to the extent possible. Record the incident if you can and make sure to notify the police, noting the exact time and place of the abuse, and whether you saw any CCTV cameras in the area of the abuse that could help identify the wrongdoer.

For more details on dealing with hate crimes, please refer to our guide, available in five languages.

Conclusion

For the time being, nothing changes. The UK continues to be a full member of the EU, and will remain so for at least two years from the date the British government decides to submit the notification of its intention to leave the EU to the European Council. So whether you’re a resident, a student, an employer, an employee or just visiting, all your current rights under EU law remain unaffected. As the situation develops, we will keep a close eye on any discussions within the UK and any negotiations at the EU level, and we will update this guide as needed to ensure that you have full information about your future in a post-Brexit Britain.