Brexit. Yes, I know, I know. After spending years trying to unite Europe into one and establishing the European Union, one of the union’s members – United Kingdom – has decided to leave the EU (“Brexit”). In a referendum on 23rd June 2016, 51.9% of the UK voted to leave the EU. The official UK’s “exit day” will be 29th March 2019.
What is Brexit?
Brexit – unsurprisingly – has a lot of various implications on the economy, society and individuals. Research studies have started popping out like mushrooms after rain, stating all the future challenges that UK’s businesses and higher education are going to face (and are already facing) because of this *stupid* decision. According to the Centre for European Reform, “the British economy is now 2.1% smaller than it would have been if, two years ago, Britain had voted to stay in the EU”. It’s like in that saying “you made the bed, now you have to sleep in it…”.
Besides all the negative effects on the economy, there are also quite profound consequences for the individuals, especially for those who have enjoyed wandering in the European Economic Area without any restrictions. First of all, the strength of pound sterling has plunged by 19% post the referendum (see the graph below). What does that mean? Simply put, being able to afford less for the same amount of money abroad. This, in turn, means that travels just got more expensive for all the British residents.
Graph taken from: https://www.finder.com/uk/brexit-pound
Brexit and Travel
In addition, because the UK won’t be a member state of the EU anymore, inevitably a visa system will have to be introduced for British citizens that want to travel or work abroad. On this note, the European Commission has drafted plans to add Britain to a visa system (which would mean buying a visa every time a UK citizen was traveling abroad). Nothing is confirmed just yet and all the travellers residing in UK are anxiously waiting for the news on this matter. So far the main advice for UK citizens is this: travel as much as you can until December 31, 2020 whist it is still allowed to travel freely in the EEA area!
Taking about traveling – I moved to London, UK from Lithuania in September 2012. In the last 5 years I have made 50 trips to various countries abroad. Out of these 50 trips, 39 of them were in the European Union (yes, I have a tendency to visit some countries like Lithuania, Denmark or Germany over and over again…). Imagine having to get a visa for each one of these 39 trips?
Finally, what about those travellers who want to visit UK? Same as above, if every person who visited me over the last 5 years would have had to go through all the hassle of getting a visa for entering the UK, I believe that the number of visitors I have hosted would have reduced dramatically.
The bottom line is: Brexit might become a real pain in the ass for the travellers for a number of reasons. Because no one knows just yet whether UK and EU will settle for “hard” or “soft” Brexit, it is unclear what the future holds for those residing in UK and those who want to visit (or leave!) the country.
In the meantime – make sure you go on your long Eurozone trip before the end of 2020 and double check whether your country allows a dual citizenship 😊