United Kingdom – Brexit and What It Means for Immigration

United Kingdom – Brexit and What It Means

This GMS Flash Alert reports on a flow-chart that was developed by KPMG LLP in the U.K. to show how different types of people might be affected from an immigration perspective if the EU referendum vote was to leave, rather than stay in, the EU.

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In the run-up to the 23rd June European Union (EU) referendum in the U.K., many EU nationals working in the U.K. are asking their employers what the implications for them might be if the U.K. votes to leave the EU.  And to help show what the potential impact of a ‘Brexit’ might be on people’s right to work in the U.K. (should that be the outcome of the 23rd June referendum) KPMG LLP (U.K.) has prepared a flow-chart based on current immigration rules. The flow-chart was developed to show how different types of people might be affected based on the assumption that current immigration rules remain in place for the two-year period of negotiations that would follow if the vote was to leave.


If the U.K. votes to leave the European Union on 23 June 2016, non-U.K. EU residents and business visitors from the EU, the European Economic Area, or Switzerland are likely to be affected. 

The flow-chart takes a look at several different fact patterns and scenarios and aims to help assess how Brexit might affect different types of EU nationals working in the United Kingdom.

Should Brexit Happen: What It Means for Foreign Nationals in the U.K.

How long someone’s been in the U.K. makes a difference – more than five years and there may be an option to apply for a card certifying permanent residence which proves a right to live in the U.K. indefinitely.  Those with more than six years may be eligible to apply for British citizenship. 

Those with less than five years – be they business travellers, students, self-employed people, or entrepreneurs – may need visas or another form of authorisation to remain in the United Kingdom.


All the above is based on the assumption that the current rules remain in place. That’s not guaranteed by any means, so anyone who thinks they will be affected should make sure they obtain advice on their specific situation.

The rules are complicated and may well change depending on exactly what is negotiated in terms of Britain’s exit from the EU if the vote is to leave.


For additional information or assistance, please contact your local GMS or People Services professional* or one of the following professionals with the KPMG International member firm in the United Kingdom.


Punam Birly

+ 44 (0) 20 7694 4950



Paul Jones

+ 44 (0) 20 7311 1475



Denise Osterwald

+44 (0) 20 7694 3481 



* Please note the KPMG International member firm in the United States does not provide immigration services. 

The information contained in this newsletter was submitted by the KPMG International member firm in the United Kingdom.

© 2016 KPMG LLP, a UK limited liability partnership, and a member firm of the KPMG network of independent member firms affiliated with KPMG International Cooperative, a Swiss entity. All rights reserved.

Flash Alert is an Global Mobility Services publication of KPMG LLPs Washington National Tax practice. The KPMG logo and name are trademarks of KPMG International. KPMG International is a Swiss cooperative that serves as a coordinating entity for a network of independent member firms. KPMG International provides no audit or other client services. Such services are provided solely by member firms in their respective geographic areas. KPMG International and its member firms are legally distinct and separate entities. They are not and nothing contained herein shall be construed to place these entities in the relationship of parents, subsidiaries, agents, partners, or joint venturers. No member firm has any authority (actual, apparent, implied or otherwise) to obligate or bind KPMG International or any member firm in any manner whatsoever. The information contained in herein is of a general nature and is not intended to address the circumstances of any particular individual or entity. Although we endeavor to provide accurate and timely information, there can be no guarantee that such information is accurate as of the date it is received or that it will continue to be accurate in the future. No one should act on such information without appropriate professional advice after a thorough examination of the particular situation.

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