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The Great Britain that many have come to know and love today isn’t actually British at all. It has been built on a foundation of centuries of immigration and we are a country whose long history of diverse settler cultures has shaped our current society.
From Julius Caesar’s invasion in 55BC, to the Vikings and the Windrush generation, like it or not nearly all of us share an immigrant past. But despite our common ancestry, the subject of immigration remains a modern day dilemma and is a divisive and passionate subject to many. The vote that split the UK on 23 June 2016—where 17.5 million people in the UK made the decision to leave the EU—is something we currently cannot escape and there is little doubt that the issue of immigration was a principal factor in determining which way many voted. Research collated by the National Centre for Social Research through a survey of nearly 3,000 British people, states suggestions by politicians and others that the Brexit vote represented disenchantment with politics were ‘widely off the mark’.
This article explores the reasons behind why immigration was such a driving force behind Brexit, the impact that has had to date and the current predictions of how things will befollowing the UK’s exit at 11pm (GMT) on Friday, 29 March 2019.
A report by the Migration Advisory Committee (MAC), shows that over the past two decades there has been a significant shift towards Europeans entering and residing in the UK, which is currently home to around 3.6 million EU nationals and according to the CBI, accounting for between 4% and 30% in every major sector of the workforce.
Despite freedom of movement of workers being in place from the late 1990s, there wasn’t a substantial concern over EU migration at that time. The catalyst behind this growing fear appears to have begun in 2004, when eastern and central European nations joined
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Hannah is one of the Future of Law blog’s digital and technical editors. She graduated from Northumbria University with a degree in History and Politics and previously freelanced for News UK, before working as a senior news editor for LexisNexis.
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