I'm an IT guy from Italy and I like to move to UK with my wife to find better work conditions - and, well, a lot of other stuffs - but we are a bit worried about the Brexit.

Is it a good idea to look for a job now?

I mean, in the event of a real Brexit, would I be in a better situation being there before the referendum outcome?

Extra info: I already have a NI number.

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    I don't think this is currently answerable. It is highly uncertain how the UK would end up in the event of a vote to leave. – gerrit Mar 15 '16 at 14:20
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    I guess that EU citizens already in the UK would be allowed to stay, but that's just a guess. We don't know what the terms of the UK's exit from the EU would be, or even whether it will happen. I am voting to close as primarily opinion based. Perhaps you can rephrase to make the question more concrete, in which case I will retract my vote (or vote to reopen if it is closed). – phoog Mar 15 '16 at 16:28

The question is bit speculative but I think it can be answered. We don't know precisely what would happen but the worst case scenario is that you would be forced to leave your new job and return to Italy in a couple of years. The risk is there but, no matter the outcome, it seems quite small and it's extremely unlikely that anything would happen overnight.

If the UK leaves the EU, things like retirement pension or the status of non-EU family members when you return to your country of origin could also become more complicated. So if you are concerned about leaving your current job and not being able to find something you like in some years and absolutely cannot tolerate that uncertainty, waiting for the outcome of the referendum makes sense. But then again, switching jobs and especially countries always carries a risk that things don't go exactly as planned so if you are that risk-averse, maybe expatriation is not for you.

On other hand, it's conceivable that even if the UK leaves the EU, it will first introduce some kind of transition regime to “grandfather” EU workers who are already present in the country into the country's new visa/residence system. No matter the outcome, it's also extremely unlikely that immigrating would become any easier so from that perspective there is no reason to wait. And as @phoog commented, it's entirely possible that people who gained permanent residence or stayed for a yet-to-be-defined period of time before the transition would benefit from a special status so “starting the clock” as soon as possible might actually be advantageous.

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    Also, if the UK leaves the EU, it's possible that EU citizens who have permanent right of residence will continue to enjoy permanent right of residence, since it is, after all, permanent. If it does in fact play out that way, then the sooner one moves to the UK, the more likely one will benefit from this. I don't find it inconceivable that it could take over five years for the UK to extricate itself from the EU. – phoog Mar 15 '16 at 22:01
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    Also the UK leaving the EU will probably not happen overnight once the referendum is over (it might be possible, but there is a very little chance for that). During this time you'll probably know more about the new rules and regulations they try to set up in this transitional, still-EU period, and you might have a chance to move to the UK while still using EU rules. – SztupY Mar 16 '16 at 14:03

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