The Prime Minister David Cameron has announced the EU referendum will take place on 23 June. The announcement came after his negotiations on the UK’s relationship with Europe were finalised on 19 February at the two-day EU summit meeting.
Mr Cameron claimed his EU reform deal would give Britain "special status" within the bloc – addressing alleged concerns over “migrants getting something for nothing" from the benefit system and exempting the country from the EU drive for "ever-closer union". But critics say it does nothing to tackle high levels of immigration or take back powers from Brussels.
Some of the implications for migrants within the deal that was struck include:
A four-year freeze on in-work benefits for EU citizens working in the UK when there are “exceptional” levels of migration. The UK will be able to operate this “emergency break” for seven years.
Child benefit payments for children living outside the UK will be paid at a rate based on the cost of living in their home country. This will apply to new arrivals to the UK, once legislation has been passed, and to all workers from 1 January 2020.
Non-EU citizens married to EU citizens will no longer have the right to come to the UK under free movement rules. British citizens living in other member states will have to use the family reunion rules of those states when sponsoring the admission of their dependents.
These measures are being introduced despite the Government saying it has no information on how much EU migrants cost – or benefit – the UK.
The UK held a referendum in 1975 shortly after it joined the EU. The vote was in favour of staying in, but there have been growing calls from the public and politicians for another vote because, they argue, the EU has changed a lot over the past 40 years.