5 September 2019

Following weeks of uncertainty, the Home Office has released an updated policy paper setting out the immigration arrangements for EU citizens arriving in the in the UK following a no-deal Brexit, which remains scheduled for 31 October 2019.

The arrangements detailed only apply to those EU citizens and their family members arriving post 31 October 2019. EU nationals and their family members residing in the UK prior to this date can continue remain and have their status recognised under the EU Settlement Scheme until 31 December 2020.

The key points are:

  • Free movement as it currently stands will officially end on 31 October 2019. However, EU citizens can continue to arrive and work in the UK for a transition period until 31 December 2020.
  • Those who arrive in the UK after Brexit can apply for a temporary immigration status known as European Temporary Leave to Remain (Euro TLR) which will be valid for 36 months. This application is completed online and will be free of charge.
  • EU citizens arriving post 31 October 2019 may continue to be accompanied by their non- EU family members including spouses, civil partners and children, and extended family members such as durable partners and dependant relatives. They may apply for Euro TLR once the EU citizen sponsor has applied.
  • EU citizens who move to the UK after Brexit and choose not to apply for Euro TLR will need to leave the UK by 31 December 2020 or apply for permission to remain under the UK’s new points-based immigration system, which is due to be implemented in January 2021 (see below).
  • The Home Office has commissioned the Migration Advisory Committee (MAC) to review the ‘Australian style’ points-based system and advise on how similar arrangements could work in the UK.
  • For those holding status under Euro TLR and subsequently transitioning into a visa category under the new points-based system in a route that leads to settlement, the 36 months spent under Euro TLR will count towards the qualifying residence period for settlement (usually five years).
  • Employers and landlords will not be required to distinguish between EU citizens who moved to the UK before of after Brexit until the new points-based immigration system is introduced in January 2021. The required document checks in terms of right to work/ right to rent currently remain the same and provision of an EU passport/ evidence of status as an EU family member remains sufficient.

While this doesn’t alleviate many concerns and questions remain, these policy proposals do provide some relief following the anxiety caused by the Home Secretary’s earlier announcement on the end of free movement.

We will continue to keep you updated. If you have any queries and would like to discuss Brexit planning, please do not hesitate to contact us.