Brexit Stories: 'Brexit has the potential to be positive for our immigration system'

Brexit Stories: 'Brexit has the potential to be positive for our immigration system'

Antonia Torr. Image: Antonia Torr

Friday, January 25, 2019

Antonia Torr, 30, is a London-based immigration lawyer.

"The biggest change for me after Brexit is that we’ve got a lot of EU nationals leaving the UK because of the uncertainty and atmosphere, which means I’m now doing more work than ever before with corporates on employee engagement and how to retain those EU nationals.

I’m also working with a lot of businesses from the US, China and Australia who are looking to enter the UK. American tech start-ups or Chinese and Australian restaurant and retail businesses see the current uncertainty as an opportunity to establish themselves in the marketplace.

Looking at it from the bigger picture, Brexit actually has the potential to be positive, because it is forcing us to think seriously about what sort of immigration system we want.

At the moment we have a system with layers of information that overlap and contradict each other, and that creates difficulties, separates families, and stalls businesses.


'Positive changes'

"Brexit has forced the Home Office to look at the immigration system and question whether it is fit for purpose, and the Home Secretary has recently made a number of potentially positive changes that could make our immigration system genuinely fair and reasonable.

Hopefully this will lead to a more business-friendly immigration system with quicker decisions and more reasonable common-sense decisions being made.

Brexit may also increase the number of people applying for the UK’s cash for citizenship scheme, one of the most reputable and heavily regulated in the world.

In the past we have seen large numbers of investors going to other schemes in Cyprus or Malta, getting citizenship from those countries and then entering the UK as EU citizens rather than Americans, Chinese or Russians.

Now that we’re leaving the EU those individuals may start coming back to the UK investment scheme rather than any other investment scheme. That would be good for the UK, because it would encourage more investment into UK business.

Although it has the potential to be positive, I do believe there will be quite a bit of short-term pain.

We will see a lot more administration and paperwork after Brexit, certainly for the first couple of years.

We will also see a more hostile environment towards refugees and asylum seekers. Our current commitments are derived from the EU, and after we leave we wont have anything to force the government to fulfil those obligations.

It will be down to the public how they react to that, but I suspect we will see a government that is more focused on pro-business and private individuals other than refugees."


As told to talkRADIO