UK Overseas Territories Fear Loss Of EU Free Movement Rights

By Hans Esser, for 19 May, 2017

A recent technical roundtable held in London discussed how the Overseas Territories may be impacted by and can respond to the potential loss of EU Free Movement rights for their citizens post-Brexit.

The main Overseas Territories are Anguilla, Bermuda, the British Virgin Islands, the Cayman Islands, the Falkland Islands, Gibraltar, Montserrat, and the Turks and Caicos Islands.

One of the four freedoms enjoyed by EU citizens – and the Overseas Territories, as a result of the UK's EU membership – is the free movement of workers. This includes the rights of movement and residence for workers, the rights of entry and residence for family members, and the right to work in another member state and be treated on an equal footing with nationals of that member state.

In London, the British Virgin Islands' London Office Director and EU Representative Benito Wheatley met with officials from the UK Home Office and the UK Department for Exiting the EU and emphasized the importance of visa-free travel to the EU for BVI practitioners.

Wheatley said freedom of movement was important for the territory's local legal practitioners, who will continue to need to travel to Europe to engage clients in cases being heard in the territory's courts, including the Commercial Court Division of the Eastern Caribbean Supreme Court and the new International Arbitration Centre.

Wheatley also stressed the importance of freedom of movement for the territory's students who currently enjoy visa-free travel to the Schengen area, and the ability to participate in EU higher education schemes, as well as the importance of easy access to the EU for tourists from the British Virgin Islands.

The discussions on freedom of movement are part of ongoing engagement by the British Virgin Islands and other Overseas Territories on the challenges posed by the UK's forthcoming exit from the EU.

The territory earlier participated in a Brexit technical roundtable on fisheries and agriculture policies in April. It will attend upcoming technical roundtables on EU funding, trade, and financial services.

To prepare the territory for Brexit, the BVI has set up a Brexit taskforce to prepare a white paper on the opportunities and risks posed to the British Virgin Islands by Brexit. The white paper is expected to be completed ahead of the second UK-OT Joint Ministerial Council on Brexit Negotiations on July 12, 2017.

Tags: Expatriates | Court | Business | Gibraltar | Montserrat | Financial Services | Bermuda | Cayman Islands | Falkland Islands | Turks And Caicos Islands | United Kingdom | Virgin Islands | Education | Anguilla | Trade | British Virgin Islands | Services | Expats | Europe |


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