Brexit, a portmanteau word from “British exit”, refers to the withdrawal of United Kingdom’s membership from the EU. Following the June referendum opting out of the EU, British Prime Minister Theresa May announced that the government intends to trigger Article 50 by the end of March 2017. Article 50 is the formal notification of one state’s intention to withdraw from the EU, and would normally require 2 years’ time to finalize the withdrawal process. May also plans to propose a bill that would incorporate the European Communities Act 1972 into the English statute, merging some EU laws into the English legal system. The details of the bill, as well as the fate of the UK, is yet to be unravelled.
Article 50 is the key in determining whether the UK is ‘in’ or ‘out’ of the EU. Recently having ruled by the High Court that the article cannot be invoked, the government plans to appeal this case to the Supreme Court, though that may likely prove unsuccessful. Its only remaining resolution then, is to put forward the case to the parliament. In this case, the outcome would decide the future of the next British generation.
There have been few palpable changes in British society for now, but from the eyes of an international student in Britain, both concerns and opportunities are beginning to surface. One of the major concerns would be the safety of overseas students. The Brexit Leave campaign was mainly driven by the issue of immigration: the overwhelming amount of refugees and immigrants entering the country, under the EU principle of the free movement of people. Brexit supporters believe in the age-old argument that immigrants take their jobs and steal from their resources. We, as overseas students, may fall victim to the xenophobic and borderline racist views that have gained prevalence.
It is also inevitable that Brexit has caused uncertainty in the market. With the pound drastically depreciating, real estate prices have plummeted across the nation. Foreign investment, especially from overseas parents who buy flats for their children studying in the UK, are expected to grow in volume.
Overseas students are also having a better time as a result of the falling pound, since daily necessities, including food and transport, have become more affordable. Thus, more Hong Kong parents will be impelled to send their children to pursue their studies in the UK.
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