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Following the summer recess, Theresa May’s newly-formed cabinet gathered at her country residence to push ahead with plans to create a roadmap for Brexit. Despite pressure from European leaders to begin the exit process as swiftly as possible, May has determined that the UK will not trigger Article 50 of the Lisbon treaty until early 2017.
Talking to her cabinet, May confirmed that “Brexit means Brexit” and there would be “no attempts to stay in the EU by the back door.” Outlining her aim to forge a new role for the UK in the world, she also confirmed that the UK would be seeking a unique model for leaving the EU, rather than an “off the shelf solution.”
Curbing immigration is top of the agenda for May’s government, meaning that the UK won’t be seeking a similar arrangement to Norway, which is currently granted access to the single market in exchange for the freedom of movement for EU citizens.
With last year’s immigration levels currently three-times above May’s targets, preliminary plans include introducing work permits for low-skilled workers. In addition to ensuring the UK is able to tackle immigration, May also confirmed that she would be seeking the best possible deal for Britain abroad.
More significantly, May has determined she will trigger the Brexit negotiations without a commons vote, which has gathered criticism from some key figures. Former cabinet secretary, Lord O’Donnell said in an interview that it would be unwise for May to trigger Article 50 without the support of a commons vote, as “Brexit was about returning control to our country, returning control to our government.”
Lord O’Donnell also noted that triggering Article 50 of the Lisbon Treaty will not leave the UK on neutral ground, as it was written to favour the remaining parties, rather than to make it easy for the departing country. Once triggered, the departing country has two years to negotiate an exit deal, and there can be no backtracking without unanimous consent from all member states.
If you’re concerned about your position following the Brexit vote, get in touch with one of our immigration solicitors in London to discuss your options.