Immigration: What’s the deal if there’s no ‘deal’?
As the Brexit deadline of 29 March 2019 gets closer and closer, trade negotiations continue to be turbulent and unpredictable. It’s becoming increasingly likely that the deadline of 29 March 2019 will come and go without a ‘deal’ agreed.
While the UK and EU have agreed the ‘EU Settlement Scheme’ to protect rights of EU and UK citizens, this will only happen in a ‘deal’ scenario and requires parliamentary approval.
Uncovering what will happen if a ‘no deal’ scenario does occur, a recent policy paper published by The Department for Exiting the European Union reveals some stark differences to the agreed ‘EU Settlement Scheme’, fundamentally changing the immigration landscape for individuals and businesses across the UK.
Against this uncertain backdrop, it’s now more important than ever to consider how EU employees will be impacted if we reach the end of March without a final agreement.
In the event of a ‘no deal’ Brexit, what will stay the same?
- Benefits & Services: EU citizens and their family members who are residents in the UK by 29 March 2019 will be able to work, study and access services in the UK on the same basis post-Brexit as if there had been a ‘deal’. They will also be entitled to healthcare, education, benefits and social housing, including supported housing and homelessness assistance.
- Proof of Residency and Settled Status: EU nationals will still be required to prove their right to work and reside in the UK by providing their passports or national identity cards. Once an individual has gained ‘settled status’, it will operate in the same way as in a ‘deal’ scenario, although the route to achieving ‘settled status’ will change for some individuals and their family members. However, children born after 29 March 2019 may join their parents in the UK in any event.
- EFTA nationals: EFTA citizens of Iceland, Liechtenstein, Norway and Switzerland will be able to stay in the UK post-Brexit and have reciprocal arrangements for UK citizens.
… and what will change?
- ‘Settled status’: The ‘settled status’ scheme will run in the same way as in a ‘deal’ scenario but it will only be open to those resident in the UK by 29 March 2019. No special provisions will be made for those entering the UK after Brexit. The scheme will close on 31 December 2020 with no six month grace period as there would have been with a ‘deal’. Additionally, statuary appeal rights would be lost. The only recourse for a refused application would be administrative review or judicial review, a costly and time-consuming alternative.
- Family members & partners/spouses: Where a family relationship existed before 29 March 2019 and continues, non-extended family members can join an EU citizen with ‘settled status’ in the UK by 29 March 2022. However, after 29 March 2022, the new and (as yet) undefined immigration rules will apply to such individuals. For other dependent relatives and future spouses/partners they have only until 31 December 2020 to join an EU national with ‘settled status’ in the UK. Again, after this date the immigration rules will apply.
- Frontier Workers: Frontier workers are people who work in one EU member state but live in another, returning home daily or weekly. The details relating to them have not been provided as yet but it is understood that they will be protected either by the ‘settled status’ scheme or by a separate immigration status which allows them to continue working/living in such a way.
Whilst only time will tell on whether a trade deal will be secured, it is clear that businesses need to prepare now for a new era of reduced migration. Our five step plan shows you how.