Virginia, US
The term "free movement" is used frequently in recent debates about potential EU reforms. Before we look at the reforms and their potential impact on business and investor migration, let's revisit the fundamentals of free movement. 
 
First, it is important to distinguish between European citizenship and the single market of the Schengen Area. The notion of European citizenship was introduced in the Treaty of Maastricht in 1993, creating the corresponding right of European (EEA) citizens to move and reside freely in other Member States. The Schengen Area consists of those countries that have signed the Schengen Agreement of 1985. There are currently 26 full Schengen members, 4 of those countries are not the EU Member States.
Within the Schengen Area, the UK and Ireland are "opt-out" countries – those European countries that maintain borders with other European countries.
 
With the exception of these opt-out countries, the Schengen Area acts as a single state without internal borders and is characterized by strong external borders controls. There is a common short stay visa policy, known as the Schengen Visa, that is applicable to third country nationals who have not been deemed "visa exempt". For all EEA citizens, entry into the Schengen area requires only a valid passport or national ID card. 
The border free Schengen Area is widely considered one of the great achievements of the European Union. However, the current migrant crisis has led to the emergency reintroduction of border controls in some Member States.  These emergency measures are part of a larger debate about whether the Schengen external borders are adequate given the pressures that many Member States are experiencing. As a result, there is an ongoing discussion in many member states whether internal borders should be reinstated. For an excellent and more detailed conversation about Schengen border initiatives listen to Fragomen's Migrant Crisis Webinar. 
 
Second, we have to consider that free movement in Europe is critical for the provision of services for multi-national businesses. The idea that internal borders could be reintroduced, in a capacity greater than the emergency controls that are currently in place, is a major concern for the business community. Investor Migrants will also be watching these developments closely, as many residence or citizenship options are attractive specifically because they offer access to visa free travel throughout the borderless Schengen Area.
 
Currently, the emergency measures constitute a heightened screening process at internal borders to enable authorities to detect illegal movement between the Member States. For holders of legal travel documents, this can be inconvenient but does not affect free movement rights and does not diminish the benefits of those residence permits or passports.  While we are seeing ongoing discussions about the permanent reintroduction of internal borders this is currently not being debated at a policy level. 
 
Far more pressing is the "UK within the EU" settlement. The U.K. referendum on June 23 will determine whether the UK will remain a member of the European Union.  Citizens of the U.K. currently enjoy the right to freely reside and move in the European Union.  A vote to leave the EU  will have enormous implications for free movement of UK nationals in Europe. Investors who have or are in the process of obtaining UK citizenship via the Tier 1 Visa will clearly be affected, something we will of course address in our blog series. 
 
In our next installment, we will explain the settlement deal that David Cameron made with the European Council, setting the stage for the June referendum. Look out for other posts from me and from Nadine Goldfoot regarding EU reform measures and Investment Migration, and for Brexit impacts on business immigration look for updates from Ian Robinson and his team in the UK.  And of course, if you have any particular questions about any of the issues we raise or if there is a topic you would like us to discuss, please reach out to us at beneluxinfo@fragomen.com.