LONDON (AP) – So far, the majority of British and EU citizens have not realized the realities of Brexit. Although the UK withdrew from the EU on January 31, it is following the rules of the camp until the end of this year as part of a transition to a new economic relationship.
That’s all set for change.
On January 1, Britain begins its new, distant relationship with the European Union after nearly five decades of close economic, cultural and social integration.
Britain’s economy and population change after World War II was astounding, certainly greater than it had been in 1973 as a European economic community.
“This is a huge shock to our economy, and it’s going to happen immediately,” said Anand Menon, Britain’s director and professor of European politics and foreign affairs at King’s College London.
“Suddenly in early January you wake up in a new world.”
Some of the changes in movement people here will start to feel almost overnight.
What has changed?
Although the corona virus outbreak has led to a decline in the number of people traveling between the UK and the EU, the end of freedom of movement from January 1 will mark the most determined Brexit effect so far.
Under the divorce agreement agreed by both parties on December 24, the same rights as now exist for the approximately 1 million British citizens residing legally in the European Union will be widespread. This applies to the more than 3 million EU citizens living in the UK
But British citizens will no longer have the automatic right to live and work in the EU, and vice versa. People who want to cross the immigration border must follow immigration rules and face other red tape such as ensuring their eligibility is recognized.
The exception is moving between the UK and Ireland, which has a separate common travel area.
For many in the EU, the freedom to travel, study and live anywhere within the 27-nation bloc is one of the most impressive aspects of EU integration.
After several former communist countries in Eastern Europe joined the European Union in 2004, some in Britain and other parts of Western Europe became increasingly skeptical of freedom of movement, many of whom went to work in the UK and other rich countries. Concerns about immigration were a major factor in Britain’s 2016 Brexit vote. On January 1, British and European citizens alike knew the consequences of that decision.
What are the new travel rules?
While traveling on holidays is visa-free, British citizens will be allowed to spend only 90 days out of every 180 in the EU, while the UK will allow European citizens to stay for up to six consecutive months.
For retired British citizens accustomed to spending more than three months in their second homes in the Spanish Costa del Sol, this change may come as a shock. British travelers in Europe must also have at least six months left in their passports and purchase their own travel insurance. The UK will no longer be issued a European health insurance card, which guarantees access to medical care throughout the camp, but says the UK is setting up an alternative system so that UK visitors to the UK and EU citizens visiting the UK still have medical coverage.
What about pets?
For British citizens accustomed to taking their dog, cat or ferret on holiday in Europe every summer, the situation becomes more complicated because Britain will no longer be part of the EU’s pet passport scheme – some fear the deal avoids harsh monthly procedures. Pet owners in the UK must vaccinate their animal for microcephaly and rabies 21 days prior to travel, and obtain an animal health certificate from a veterinarian 10 days prior to departure.
Will driving be a hassle?
The agreement does not require an international driver’s license once British drivers cross the channel. British motorists can travel to the EU with their UK licenses and insurance as long as they carry proof that they are insured in the form of a “green card”.
What about work?
The end of operational freedom will have a major impact on hiring at all corners of the labor market.
A British citizen who has just graduated from vacation in the Greek islands, for example, cannot walk on a beach bar and look for a part-time job without the required visa. This also applies to European citizens coming to the UK, who cannot return to a sandwich shop like Brett A Manger and look for work without the necessary documents.
Big businesses, on the other hand, find it very difficult and expensive to hire people. The agreement includes provisions that allow contractors and business travelers to undertake short-term work trips without visas.
Follow all AP stories about Brexit and British politics at https://apnews.com/Brexit
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