Written evidence submitted by Matthew Jones (FRE0096)
I am writing to you today to consider and push for a proposal for the UK and the EU to negotiate a bilateral freedom of movement deal. Such a deal will continue to allow British citizens to live and work freely in the EU, and allow EU citizens to live and work freely within the UK. Such bilateral agreements already exist in the world, an example being the EU-Switzerland bilateral deal, and the Australia-New Zealand trans tasman agreement.
Freedom of movement is vital for the interests of British businesses who regularly need to tap into foreign labour markets to meet their targets and needs. Freedom of movement is also vital for the rights of British citizens who wish to retain the privilege and benefit of living and working across the EU without a visa. Those who were too young to vote in the EU referendum, should not be stripped of the freedoms to live and work and explore the EU that were offered to those who were able to vote.
I believe such a deal should be negotiated independently to that of a trade deal as it is vital that the rights of citizens should not be eroded. I also think such an agreement can be negotiated swiftly, as both the EU and UK should recognize the huge benefit of the freedom of movement idea.
The 48% who voted to remain in the EU do not wish to have their freedom of movement rights stripped, and many who did vote to leave voted due to the promises of Nigel Farage, Boris Johnson and Michael Gove that we could have a 'Swiss or Norwegian style arrangement'. Both Switzerland and Norway of course, have full freedom of movement with the EU, so it is fair to assume many leave voters also did not expect to lose their freedom of movement rights.
Whilst we have to accept the reality that the UK has left the EU, it has not left Europe, and the referendum was not about ending or retaining freedom of movement. I therefore urge you to please push for a swift conclusion to this issue so that both British and EU citizens can continue to enjoy the same rights they have had since 1973.
I am 24 years old and have used my freedom of movement regularly in Europe. I lived in Denmark for 18 months without a visa exercising my rights, and routinely travel to the continent for both work and tourism purposes. I also have friends who have taken advantage of freedom of movement to avail employment and study opportunities in the Netherlands and Germany. I think depriving our young people of these opportunities will put them at a distinct disadvantage to young people from the EA, EEA and Switzerland who will continue having the right to live and work freely throughout Europe.