The Government has published its transitional arrangements for EU citizens arriving in the UK after 29th March 2019 in the event of a No Deal Brexit and the end of EU free movement.
The transition arrangements will apply to all citizens of EU countries, Switzerland, Norway, Iceland and Liechtenstein. Irish nationals will not be affected by the changes.
EU citizens arriving in the UK after 29th March 2019
Under the No Deal immigration policy, EU free movement will end on 29th March 2019 once the UK leaves Europe. After this date, EU citizens will be allowed to enter the UK to stay for a maximum period of 3 months.
During this time, they can work, study, be self-employed or self-sufficient. To remain in the UK lawfully beyond 3 months, EU citizens will have to apply for and be granted European Temporary Leave to Remain before the end of the three month period.
European Temporary Leave to Remain is expected to be granted for up to 3 years, and will allow the holder to work or study.
It will not however be possible to extend this leave, nor will it lead to EU settled status, permanent residence or ILR.
To remain in the UK after the 3 year temporary visa, EU citizens will need to apply for further leave to remain under new UK immigration rules, expected to take effect January 2021 after the Brexit transition period.
Non-EEA family members of EU citizens will have to apply under a family permit.
While this latest EU immigration document is without doubt one of the most comprehensive and practical documents to have come out of the Home Office in a long time, it does lack detail as to the requirements on EU citizens in the UK to qualify for EU Leave to Remain, although general grounds for admission will still apply (e.g. good character).
EU workers already in the UK by 29th March 2019
The Government has confirmed in previous announcements that EU workers already in the UK by 29th March 2019 will be subject to the UK’s new EU settlement scheme. This means they are permitted to remain in the UK, provided they apply to the Home Office for settled status. Settled status is not automatically granted.
Settled status also applies to individuals who arrive in the UK after 29th March but who were previously living in the UK before Brexit day.
We have published guidance for UK employers on the new scheme.
Are you concerned about the end of EU free movement and the impact on your workforce?
Employers should be looking now at how they can prepare their organisations and their workforce for Brexit, and specifically a no-deal scenario.
Supporting existing EU workers in the UK will be critical to minimising disruption and recruitment strategies will need to be reviewed and adapted in light of imminent changes to the UK immigration rules.
As specialist business immigration solicitors, we offer advice and guidance to employers on how to approach changes in UK immigration rules and support EU workers through this unprecedented period of upheaval.
We provide auditing, training, support materials, workshops and presentations for HR, management and EU workers. We also provide strategic guidance to future-proof recruitment strategies in post-Brexit Britain.
For help through the Brexit immigration changes affecting your business and workforce, contact us.