What Brexit means for Indians

Britain has officially left the European Union. Many Indians must have wondered what all the raucous was about. Brexit was conceptualised to control the flow of Europeans, loss of jobs and economy by the ruling Conservative Party.

So what is Brexit?

‘Britain, with the exclusion of Northern Ireland will no longer a part of the European Union. Britain, which has been a member of the European Union since the 1970s has finally decided to leave.’

Why did it take place?

The former Prime Minister David Cameron, member of the Conservative Party had promised to have a referendum if he was elected in the 2014 elections. His victory in the elections, and even Brexit, was considered unprecendented at the time. Though Cameron’s agenda to was win the elections, he had only suggested that the referendum should take place as a part of his campaign. A sly tactic on his part. But he made it vocal that he wished for Britain to stay in the EU until the date of the referendum.

He was the head of the ‘Remain’ campaign, while Boris Johnson, current foreign secretary of the UK, also member of the Conservative Party headed the ‘Leave’ campaign. The very mention of Brexit led to the division of the Conservative or ‘Tory’ Party. While one half wanted to leave, the other half wanted to stay. Cameron’s foolish tactic will cost Britain and the rest of Europe greatly. On 24th June, 2016 the results of the referendum, had instant consequences.

David Cameron resigned as the Prime Minister, the pound crashed and Scotland was rumoured to have a referendum to leave the United Kingdom to continue trade with the EU.

Britain went into a frenzy, and is currently unstable. The Tory party, with its new Prime Minister has begun preparing Great Britain to leave the EU. It has several ramifications on both Indians and Non-Resident Indians in the UK.

Here are a few things you should know about Brexit:

Firstly, we are affected financially by Brexit. The pound rate has dropped. Earlier, a 100 rupees was equivalent to a pound. Now, a pound is equal to 82 rupees. For those who plan on holidaying in Great Britain, now is the perfect time to save money. Students are also benefitted from it. But for those who are working in Britain, are losing a lot of money.

Many Indians working in Britain send some money to their family, and as both countries charge money for bank transfers, they lose out on more money. Britain is heavily taxed. Ranging from Council tax, income tax and TV licensing, UK residents have to pay an exorbitant amount of money, in the form of tax. Saving money is a difficult task. Brexit has obviously not worked in their favour.

Secondly. there seems to be a misconception among Indians that they can easily obtain jobs in Great Britain once the process of Brexit is complete. The main reason behind Brexit was to control the borders of this conglomerate of countries. However, it may not be possible for the Tory government to oust the Europeans.

According to recent reports, Britain will leave the EU only by 2019. Around 2.9 million Europeans would have lived in the UK for five years and can legally become citizens as per law. So Europeans may choose to apply for British citizenship and easily apply for jobs. So the job market may not easily accessible to non-British citizens. Not to mention, the Home Secretary Amber Rudd, has made it clear that foreigners would work to fill the gaps in the job market. It is rather obvious that Indians can’t be employed in Britain anytime soon.

Thirdly, London was the gateway to Europe to many major companies. This may no longer be the case. Companies like Vodafone who have their headquarters located in London are rumoured to move elsewhere. Many firms have threatened to relocate their headquarters if the government does not grant freedom of movement for its employees. However, another reason for Brexit was to prevent the freedom of movement, which conflicts with the interest of these firms.

If these firms move to Europe or Asia, the chances of Indians obtaining employment in these firms are much higher. Working in Europe or other major Asian cities will be possible.

Brexit does not mean the exit of Europeans and the influx of Indians or Asians. It only means that Britain is no longer the place it was once. Racism in Britain may not be overt like it is the United States, but the intention behind Brexit proves likewise.

The Tory government that wanted foreigners to leave, will not welcome Indians or others nationalities with open arms. It plans to impose as many restrictions as possible on foreigners. For example, current Prime Minister introduce a new immigration law in 2015, stating that those who earned at least £35,000 per annum would be eligible to apply for permanent residence in the UK. This led to a petition signed by more 100,000 people.

So settling in the UK is no longer easy as it was once before. If you do dream of building a life and career in the UK, it is time to re-evaluate your choices.Britain is not Germany. It’s borders are not wide open to anyone. Brexit may only further complicate things.


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