In the run-up to the Brexit vote back in 2016, as well as in the aftermath, there was a lot of talk about its likely impact on the British passport.
The focus of many commentators and members of the public was on the opportunity to turn back the clock and revive the old design for this travel document. And indeed its current burgundy hue will soon be ousted in favour of the more traditional blue tone.
But aside from this purely aesthetic change, what else will happen to the British Passport in the wake of the country’s exit from the European Union, scheduled for March 29th 2019?
As the Brexit negotiations rumble on and a firm deal remains elusive, there are growing fears about the way that travel will be impacted if the UK government can’t reach an agreement with EU officials before the deadline.
The disruption that’s expected to occur could impact almost every mode of transport, from planes and trains to ferries and more.
This isn’t just about Brits using their passports to leave or enter the country when they head away on holiday; it’s also about the likelihood that huge tailbacks will be caused as freight services encounter snarl-ups at customs.
This is, of course, a hypothetical issue that will only arise if no deal emerges, but the problem facing people who want to book a vacation or arrange a business trip in 2019 is that there’s no guarantee they’ll actually be allowed to enter other countries using a British passport when the time comes.
At the moment, a British passport is a very useful asset for anyone from the UK who wants to take a position with an organisation that is based elsewhere in the EU. Sites like casumocareers.com provide exciting opportunities in countries like Malta and Spain, and Brits that want to apply will have a fairly easy time of taking up a role in another member state.
However, once Brexit is finalised, there’s little doubt that working overseas will become far harder to implement for British citizens who are currently living in the UK. This applies to ambitious graduates and established professionals in a variety of fields.
The good news is that the career roadblocks that British passport holders might come up against post-Brexit can be circumvented thanks to modern technologies. Many businesses are more than happy to allow employees to work remotely, using an internet connection and a laptop to fulfil their duties rather than having to head into an office.
Working remotely and completely ignoring the borders and boundaries that separate nations at the moment are seen as the future by some observers. And indeed plenty of people are already embracing the digital nomad lifestyle; taking their work with them, rather than tying themselves to a specific place.
Once again the travel complications put in place by Brexit might make this career path less appealing, so staying in the UK to work remotely for a business that is based in a different country might be more practical.
In amongst the predictions of chaos and confusion that are predicated on a Brexit deal not being finalised in time, it is worth remembering that it’s in the interest of everyone in the UK, from the politicians and business leaders to average people, for the British passport to continue operating as it always has.
Being able to travel to other parts of the world without let or hindrance is a practical necessity of modern life and no matter what colour the document that allows this might become, the core principles it represents should remain the same. There just might be a bit more paperwork for UK citizens to complete before they travel.