EU Proposes UK Youth Mobility Deal Post-Brexit

EU Proposes UK Youth Mobility Deal Post-Brexit
"Credit: AP"

London (Parliament News) – The European Union proposes a UK-specific youth mobility deal post-Brexit, allowing easier travel and work opportunities for young people, addressing concerns of differential treatment among EU citizens.

The European Union wants to begin talks with the UK government on a contract to make it easier for young people to learn or work abroad after Brexit. The European Commission has proposed a deal to bring back a version of free movement for people aged between 18 and 30. The UK already operates schemes with some non-EU governments to permit people to come to the UK for up to two years. It states it is open to expanding that to individual EU member states.

According to BBC, Downing Street expresses it prefers these country-by-country deals rather than a deal that would apply across all 27 EU member states. The commission desires to negotiate a fresh international agreement, tagged on to the post-Brexit business deal with the UK, which came into force in 2021. It would be the foremost such mobility deal the bloc has knocked with any country outside the European Economic Area (EEA), except Switzerland.

What does the proposed EU-UK agreement entail?

In a policy document, the European Commission stated it was stepping in after the UK came to several unnamed EU countries last year to examine individual deals. It stated this risked “differential treatment” of EU citizens, and instead, there should be a bloc-wide deal to confirm they are “treated equally”.

Any decision to extend negotiations with the UK would ultimately be a conclusion for EU governments, which would also have to decide on the terms to be negotiated. A date for them to examine the proposal is yet to be set. 

What are the UK’s existing youth mobility programs?

The UK already has a youth mobility scheme visa letting young people from 10 countries including Australia, New Zealand, and Canada study or function in the UK for up to two years. However, it is not open to EU applicants.

What prompted the EU’s proposal for mobility?

The EU Commission is proposing an EU-UK agreement that would go further, lasting up to four years with no limitations on time spent working, studying, training or volunteering. It also expresses EU applicants should not have to spend the annual UK charge towards the NHS, which varies from £776 for students and under-18s to £1,035 for workers.

EU students should disburse the same tuition fees as UK students, rather than the higher fees they have had to pay since Brexit and have the right to reunite with family members, under the proposals.

What’s the UK government’s stance on mobility?

In a statement, the Home Office expressed its existing youth mobility programmes had been “successful” and it remained “open to agreeing on them with our international allies, including EU member states”.

“Our agreements provide a valuable route for cultural exchanges providing partner countries are also willing to offer the same opportunities for young British people,” the department said.

A No 10 spokeswoman stated: “We have spoken about wanting to reduce legal migration and also about wanting to support UK talent and skills and that’s why we have a system in place whereby we have a number of agreements with individual EU member states where that works in our interests and we have that rather than a Commission-wide agreement.”

Levels of immigration from the EU to the UK have dropped since freedom of movement rules finished in 2021, requiring EU citizens to get a visa to live in the UK, study, or get a job.

Beth Malcolm

Beth Malcolm is Scottish based Journalist at Heriot-Watt University studying French and British Sign Language. She is originally from the north west of England but is living in Edinburgh to complete her studies.