- 14 July 2016
- 14 July 2016
After the British referendum on secession from the EU, The Hague International Centre received several questions from British citizens living in the The Hague region about their future rights for working and living in the Netherlands.
The consequences are unclear for us as well, but we will try to answer all your questions. You could contact us by mail (email@example.com) or phone (+31 70 353 5043), but you are also welcome to visit us in City Hall, Spui 70.
The British population has voted to leave the EU, but the situation for British citizens will not change in the next years. They are still EU citizens until Britain’s secession. In order to formally announce the intention of withdrawing from the EU, the British government needs to begin the process laid out in Article 50 of the Lisbon treaty. It hasn’t done so yet and at the moment it is unclear when it will. Once Article 50 is triggered, the EU and Britain have two years to negotiate Britain’s withdrawal; this period could be extended if all member states agree to it. During negotiations, Britain remains a member of the EU and British citizens retain all their rights under EU law, including that of free movement.
Even once negotiations begin, it is impossible to forecast what the future relationship between Britain and the EU, and Britain and single EU member states, would be. For example, Britain could choose to leave the EU, but not the European Economic Area (EEA), or it could negotiate a new trade treaty including free movement with the EU. In those cases, the situation for British citizens living or wanting to live in the Netherlands would remain the same or similar. There is also a possibility that Britain would negotiate bilateral treaties regarding free movement with single EU member states, including the Netherlands. If none of this happens, British citizens wanting to move to the Netherlands would have the same rights as non-EU citizens, for example as citizens of the United States or Japan.