In a previous blog, we looked at the UK Government policy paper on immigration in the event of a 'no-deal' Brexit. This reassured EU nationals resident in the UK prior to 29 March 2019 that their status would be protected in a 'no-deal' scenario. This remains the case and those EU nationals here before Brexit day will still be able to apply for status under the EU Settlement Scheme.
The Home Secretary commented “[l]et me be clear. This policy does not apply to those here before exit day, whose rights to live and work will be protected by the EU Settlement Scheme. We want them to stay and value them hugely.”
European Temporary Leave to Remain
On 28 January, the Government further clarified its immigration policy in the event of a no-deal Brexit for EU nationals arriving after 29 March 2019.
The Government intends to end free movement as soon as possible but in the event of a no-deal Brexit they will allow EU citizens entering between 29 March 2019 and 31 December 2020 to come to the UK to visit, work and study for up to 3 months. To stay longer than three months, they will have to apply for European Temporary Leave to Remain if there’s no Brexit deal.
European Temporary Leave to Remain is a new application category and the key points to be aware of are as follows:
• Valid for three years;
• Will not allow the holder to apply under the EU Settlement Scheme and will not lead to Indefinite Leave to Remain;
• EU citizens can continue to enter and leave the UK as they do now, using e-gates when travelling on a biometric passport;
• There will be a fee for the application (fee to be set out at a later date);
• Those applying will be subject to identity, criminality and security checks;
• Non-EU family members who wish to accompany an EU national will need to apply for a family permit in advance; and
• Irish citizens will not need to apply.
Staying more than three years
If EU citizens want to stay in the UK for more than three years, they will need to meet the requirements of the new skills-based immigration system, which will come into effect from 1 January 2021. For more information on this, click here.
This policy announcement clarifies that those arriving on or after 29 March 2019 in the event of a no-deal Brexit will not be able to remain in the UK in the longer term without meeting the requirements of the new immigration system. This detracts from the benefit to employers of having an implementation period as it leaves their new EU national employees in an uncertain position while the new immigration system is being formed and if they wish to remain in the UK long term. For employers looking to employ EU nationals in the UK for a period longer than three years, they should consider bringing forward the transfer of EU staff to the UK before 29 March 2019.
If you have any questions please do not hesitate to contact Gillian McKearney.