It would depend on what arrangements were negotiated between the EU and UK post-Brexit. If we joined the EEA, or substantially replicated EEU arrangements (as Switzerland does) then relatively little would change.
But if no or only limited trade-related agreements were negotiated, the position would be similar to that prevailing now between the EU and other advanced countries like the US. UK citizens wouldn’t need visas to go to the EU or vice versa; but there would be significant restrictions on living and working, and reduced access to public services or welfare. EU citizens who wished to work here would need to qualify for a work visa via the existing system for non-EU nationals; and UK citizens who wish to work in a EU country would have to qualify under the system prevailing there.
For EU citizens currently resident here, and UK citizens currently resident abroad, the assumption is that they would be permitted to stay; no significant figures on either side of the debate have suggested otherwise. However, considerable ambiguity remains. What would be the cut off date? What would be the position of EU citizens who have resided here in the past? Given that the UK has no population register and does not record movements of EU citizens comprehensively, determining who qualified for permanent residence rights would be hugely complex, both legally and administratively; a considerable period of uncertainty is likely. The same would apply to UK citizens abroad.View all facts