The end of free movement – or is it?
The Home Secretary Priti Patel has said that in a no-deal scenario free movement of EU nationals will end on 1 November 2019. As a… Read more
The Home Secretary Priti Patel has said that in a no-deal scenario free movement of EU nationals will end on 1 November 2019. As a no-deal Brexit is fast becoming a more likely prospect, EU nationals are seeking clarity on what happens to them on 1 November 2019.
Although on the face on it, this appears not to represent a significant departure from the previous position, the comments and subsequent reports on the matter do represent a shift in Home Office sentiment towards movement of EU nationals from that which was present under Sajid Javid and Theresa May.
However EU nationals residing in the UK need more clarity rather than further uncertainty.
EU Settlement Scheme – facts
The Home Secretary’s comments on ending free movement do not mean that EU nationals will be unable to come to the UK, nor does this mean that those who already live here will become illegal overstayers on 1 November 2019.
EU nationals continue to be required to apply under the EU Settlement Scheme to be able to continue to reside in the UK legally beyond the end of the transition period (which in a no deal scenario is 31 December 2020).
The applicable deadlines for applications under the EU Settlement Scheme differ in a no-deal Brexit scenario. EU nationals must have entered the UK before 11pm on 31 October 2019 with the application deadline set as 31 December 2020 (as opposed to 30 June 2021 in the event of a deal).
More information on the EU Settlement Scheme, as well as the various deadlines under the Scheme can be accessed on the Home Office Settlement Scheme website.
EU nationals arriving in the UK after 31 October 2019
Following a no-deal Brexit, a transitional period will apply until 31 December 2020 for newly arriving EU nationals and their family members.
EU nationals arriving after 11pm on 31 October 2019, will be able to enter the UK for holidays and short trips. However those seeking to enter the UK for longer periods of time and for work or study, are likely to be subject to a new application process (which is intended to replace the previous idea of ‘European Temporary Leave to Remain’). This new process is currently under development with details to follow.
We would query the Home Office’s ability to develop and put in place a whole new application process in just over 9 weeks, so it remains to be seen how this will operate in practice. UK businesses wishing to hire EU nationals who are not already in the UK are encouraged to bring them to the UK before 31 October in order to avoid the uncertainty of the new scheme, wherever possible.
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