What is Brexit?
You may have encountered this term a lot in the past couple of years, heard it discussed on news reports, and seen the memes spawned on social media. Brexit is the term widely used to describe Britain’s planned exit from the European Union.
So why is Britain (UK) leaving the European Union (EU)? In June 2016 there was a referendum held where 51.9% of those who voted supported the UK leaving the EU. Campaigns were high profile with old and current mayors of London, celebrities, academics and politicians all arguing for Leave or Remain.
This table from The Economist neatly outlines the key arguments that were presented for and against leaving the EU.
In 2017 the UK government invoked Article 50 of the Treaty on European Union and began the process of negotiations with the EU. A draft withdrawal agreement was created by November 2018, but the deal was rejected by the House of Common in two separate voting occasions in early 2019. As of March 2019, the House of Commons has voted for PM Theresa May to ask the EU for an extension on the negotiation period. If no extensions are approved, the UK will leave the EU without an agreement in place, known as a ‘no-deal Brexit’ on April 12. If this happens there will likely be more significant implications for countries like NZ.
So how will it affect your Youth Mobility Scheme or Ancestry visa?
It is unlikely that Brexit will affect the Youth Mobility Scheme or UK Ancestry visa’s much. The UK and NZ have a strong relationship and this kind of temporary points-based migration scheme is something the UK will consider introducing for EU citizens post-Brexit. It may affect how you are able to travel out of the UK to EU countries so you should consult your travel agent, airline, or immigration authority directly to confirm if any additional arrangements need to be made. It is likely that border controls will be tighter (and queues longer…).
What does this mean for you trying to find a job in the UK?
The reduction of EU migrants into the UK means that the demand for entry level workers will likely be higher. The next two years are going to be a transitional period, and UK employers will be trying to work out how Brexit will affect their hiring. If you’re wanting to stay and get sponsored, Brexit might work in your favour if companies are struggling to find skilled migrants that can’t make it past immigration.
What about money?
Since the Brexit referendum there has been a noticeable decrease in value of the pound (GBP) against the NZD. This is due to the enormous amount of uncertainty around Brexit, and investors and businesses are wary. This means that if the trend continues – you’re going to get more bang for your buck when changing your money to GBP. But it’s important to note that the market as a whole is very unpredictable, so there’s a chance it could swing back the other way. Unfortunately, a lower GBP value means that the cost of living in the UK will likely rise. This is also taking into consideration that certain goods being imported from the EU will be facing higher tariffs and customers charges. There will likely be an increase in the cost of food in particular.
So basically, we’re all holding our breath to see if the UK will leave the EU with a ‘no-deal Brexit’ or not. If it is a no-deal scenario it will probably have greater implications for NZ working holiday makers, but the precise details will not be clear until agreements and negotiations are completed. At the moment, it’s the best time to apply for a UK working holiday visa as the conversion rate is good and you can get to the UK while the going is still good!
Check out our options for Working Holidays in the UK below and get your applications in as soon as you can: