What could being a European citizen be like post-Brexit? Your travel rights could be affected - find out how!

What travel rights could potentially be affected by Britain leaving the European Union? How could your ability to live, work, travel and study in other EU states change with Brexit?


  1. What rights do EU citizens currently have in terms of freedom of movement? What does the EU freedom of movement principle actually mean?
  2. The freedom of movement principle is one of the founding principles of the European Union (EU). This principle allows citizens of the European Union to move to, work in and live in other EU states, and, in certain circumstances, access the welfare system of the EU country to which they have moved. With the accession of Croatia on 1 July 2013, EU citizens now have the right to move to, live in, study in and work in all of the other 27 member states. This right is under threat in light of the current Brexit negotiations and the future of the freedom of movement is therefore worth considering when thinking about what may result from Brexit.
  3. GIF showing the expansion of the EU over time
  4. The number of EU states is also expected to continue increasing in the future so the number of citizens who will be able to use their right to the freedom of movement within the EU will increase. This will put even more pressure on state resources within EU states as people will continue moving to other EU states and choosing to remain there. For instance, there was a significant jump in the number of EU foreign-born workers in the UK during 2006, which coincided with the opening of UK labour markets to workers from the A8 countries (Czech Republic, Estonia, Latvia, Lithuania, Hungary, Poland, Slovakia and Slovenia) in mid-2004.
  5. Freedom of movement also means that once an individual from another EU state is in employment in that state and satisfies certain conditions, he or she has the same rights as a national of that country to access state resources such as healthcare, education, and incapacity benefit if they fulfil certain conditions. Workers and self-employed EU citizens may also bring their family members to live with them, meaning these family members will then also have the same rights as nationals of the host country.
  6. Whether EU migrants in the UK or UK migrants in other EU states are a help or a burden for the country they have moved to has since been a frequent topic in the British press and within British society, especially in light of the recent UK government austerity programme and economic issues affecting all EU states after the financial crisis of 2007–08 and the U.S. subprime mortgage crisis of 2007–09.
  7. Word cloud on the key terms dominating debates concerning EU migrants across the UK and the EU
  8. Debates over whether EU migrants are taking jobs which would have been given to native workers, whether low-skilled EU migrants are causing a drop in wages, the question of labour regulation and wage enforcement for EU citizens in other EU states, especially seasonal workers, the growing demand for nursery, school and university places, the increasing pressure on the NHS and the health service as a result of population growth contributed to by EU migration etc. have been frequent in the UK and EU media in recent years.
  9. There has also been public discussion over whether these problems have been worsened by the recent speed of EU migration to the UK and the amount of Brits currently abroad in other EU states.