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Abu Dhabi, UAEThursday 13 December 2018

Free movement of people could continue for at least two years after Brexit

The first full round of talks to extricate Britain from the EU ended on Thursday with few compromises and differences over how to protect the future of expatriate citizens.

Britain's chief Brexit negotiator David Davis addressing the media on July 20, 2017 after a week of negotiations at EU headquarters in Brussels. Geert Vanden Wijngaert / AP
Britain's chief Brexit negotiator David Davis addressing the media on July 20, 2017 after a week of negotiations at EU headquarters in Brussels. Geert Vanden Wijngaert / AP

The free movement of European Union citizens to Britain could continue for at least two years after Brexit as part of a transitional deal.

Britain's chancellor of the exchequer, or finance minister, Philip Hammond, is pushing for a transitional period designed to protect the economy and protect business. As part of his plans, EU citizens would still be able to move to Britain for up to two years, The Times newspaper reported on Friday. The Guardian newspaper cited a senior cabinet source as saying free movement could last for up to four years.

The first full round of talks to extricate Britain from the EU ended on Thursday with few compromises and differences over how to protect the future of expatriate citizens.

Britain is due to leave the EU by the end of March 2019, after a June 23 referendum last year in which many Britons backed Brexit to restrict immigration and regain powers from Brussels.

Other senior members of prime minister Theresa May's cabinet also favour a more gradual, so called 'soft Brexit."

The prime minister's office offered no comment on Friday.