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The free trade agreement, without quotas or customs duties, concluded on 24 December with Brussels, avoids an abrupt break in relations between the two sides of the Channel, potentially devastating from an economic point of view. But the free movement of goods and people ceased. A passport is now required to travel to the United Kingdom, and a visa is required for stays of more than three months. And London exits the Erasmus programme
Britain is officially out of the European single market. At midnight, four and a half years after the Brexit referendum, the transition period ended and trade relations between Britain and the European Union will now be governed by the agreement signed by European leaders and British Prime Minister Boris Johnson on Christmas Eve. “We have freedom in our hands,” Johnson said in his end-of-year speech. But Scotland’s independence premier Nicola Sturgeon tweeted: “Scotland will be back soon, Europe.Keep the light on.” The Brexit has strengthened support for separation from the UK, following the 2016 independence referendum when those against independence prevailed.
The free trade agreement, without quotas or customs duties, concluded in extremis with Brussels, avoids an abrupt break in relations between the two sides of the Channel, potentially devastating from an economic point of view. But the free movement of goods and people has ceased. From Erasmus to roaming, here is what will change for the hundreds of thousands of Italians and Europeans who look to the United Kingdom as a tourist, work or study destination
The most immediate change concerns, in a stricter and more restrictive sense, the rules on travel. You now need a passport (without a visa) to travel to the UK and stay for up to three months. For a longer period, if you intend to stay for work or study reasons, you will need visas similar to those currently required for non-EU foreigners. In order to limit the number of entries, also from the EU, priority lists will be introduced, linked to the possession of a guaranteed work contract, with a minimum annual gross salary of at least 25,600 pounds (over 28,000 euros). All of this will be part of a point-based filtering system that will assess, among other things, the level of specialisation and command of the English language. On the other hand, there will be a fast-track entry system for health workers.
The visa issue does not involve the more than 4 million Europeans, including 700,000 Italians, who already live and work in the United Kingdom. For them, maintaining their pre-Brexit rights remains subject to registration, by June 2021 at the latest, in the register of the so-called ‘Eu Settlement Scheme’, set up in digital form at the Home Office, which guarantees treatment equal to that of British citizens.
Those who enrol at university from 2021 will pay full tuition fees, on a par with non-EU nationals, which, depending on the university, can be up to the equivalent of more than €30,000 per academic year. In addition, Great Britain is leaving the Erasmus programme of exchanges between European students, considered too costly by Johnson’s Tory government and so far used more by continental students for periods of study on the island than by young Britons attracted by universities in EU countries. A programme that London has announced it wants to replace with a new global exchange scheme, extended to American or Asian universities, and named after the English mathematician Alan Turing (who revealed the secrets of the German Enigma ciphers during the Second World War). The Education Minister, Gavin Williamson, has promised an initial £100 million allocation, which from next year will cover the costs of global study stays for 35,000 island students compared to around 15,000 for the last Erasmus.
The issue concerns above all those who wish to travel to the United Kingdom for tourism. Until now, Italian citizens have been able to use their tariff plans as if they were in Italy thanks to a European law that came into force three years ago. With Brexit things will change, unless agreements are reached in the coming months, and Italian SIM card owners will have to refer to their telephone operator about roaming charges.
Duties – Border duties on goods and products exported from the UK and Europe will be almost completely avoided and there will be no limit on the amount of products that can be traded between the two countries. As for fisheries, a sector of low economic impact that had become one of the main stumbling blocks during the negotiations on the agreement, Europe is giving up a quarter of its trade quota for fisheries.
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