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Current and future EU Staff and the self-employed

Key questions to consider in the eventuality of a no deal:

  • Are you aware of the settled status scheme and that it will continue to be eligible for EU citizens in the UK by 29 March 2019?
  • Are you aware that in a no deal scenario EU citizens will have until  31 December 2020 to apply for settled status under the scheme?
  • Does your business have EU workers who travel to and from EU states frequently or are self-employed? If so are they are aware if they are eligible for the settled status scheme?
  • How will you fill any skills and labour shortages either as a result of existing EU staff choosing to leave the UK or as a result of diminution in the supply of EU workers post Brexit day?

Citizens’ Rights - EU citizens in the UK and UK nationals in the EU. Policy Paper

The Government has confirmed the rights of EU citizens working and living in the UK before the point at which we exit the EU, will be protected. This is effectively a unilateral commitment. In the event of a non deal scenario, the UK will continue to run the EU Settlement Scheme for those resident in the UK by 29 March 2019. The basis for qualifying for status under the scheme will remain the same as proposed in a ‘deal’ scenario and will be focused on residence in the UK. This means that any EU citizen living in the UK by 29 March 2019 will be eligible to apply to this scheme, securing their status in UK law. However in contrast to the deal scenario, those here by 29 March 2019 will have until 31 December 2020 to apply for status under the scheme (as there will be no additional grace period). Until this time, EU citizens will continue to be able to rely on their passport (as a British citizen may) or national identity card if they are asked to evidence their right to reside in the UK when, for example, applying for a job, as they do currently. The UK Government will honour the right of those who obtain settled status under the scheme to be able to leave the country for up to five consecutive 3 years without losing their right to return. The UK Government is making the commitment that, once granted, status under the scheme is secure.

Differences to the way that the settled status scheme would work in a deal vs no deal scenario

  1. As there would be no agreed implementation period, this guarantee would only apply to EU citizens who are resident in the UK by 29 March 2019, whereas in the deal scenario that would apply until the end of the transition period
  2. As there would be no agreed implementation period, those EU citizens and their family members resident here by 29 March 2019 would have until 31 December 2020 to apply for a status under the EU Settlement Scheme, but with no six-month ‘grace period’ beyond this. The new UK immigration system would be implemented from 1 January 2021 as planned.
  3. EU citizens would have the right to challenge a refusal of UK immigration status under the EU Settlement Scheme by way of administrative review and judicial review, in line with the remedies generally available to non-EEA nationals refused leave to remain in the UK. There would be no preliminary reference procedure to the Court of Justice of the European Union, as it would not have any jurisdiction in the UK.
  4. The EU deportation threshold would continue to apply to crimes committed before exit. However, we would apply the UK deportation threshold to crimes committed after 29 March 2019.
  5. EU citizens with settled status would be able to be joined in the UK, by 29 March 2022, by existing close family members, such as children, spouses and partners, parents and grandparents living overseas at exit, where the relationship existed by 29 March 2019 (or where a child was born overseas after this date) and continued to exist when the family member applied. After 29 March 2022, such family members will be able to join EU citizens here by applying through the applicable UK Immigration Rules.
  6. EU citizens with settled status will be able to be joined by future spouses and partners (where the relationship was established after exit) and other dependent relatives until 31 December 2020, after which point the UK Immigration Rules would apply to such family reunion.

More details on the settled status scheme can be found at: https://www.gov.uk/settled-status eu-citizens-families. The scheme is due to open fully in March 2019 and will cost £65 if someone is aged 16 or above and £32.50 if they are aged below 16 years old.

Use of EU identity cards to enter the UK

There would be no immediate change, as we introduce the new UK immigration system from 1 January 2021, we would no longer guarantee that EU citizens will be able to use a national identity card to enter the UK.

Self-employed and short term EU workers – frontier workers

The government has stated that it will protect the rights of EU citizens who currently live in another state but travel regularly to and from the UK because they are employed or self-employed in the UK. These workers are known as ‘frontier workers’.  It is believed that many of this cohort will spend enough time in the UK to qualify for status under the EU Settlement Scheme. Otherwise, they will be able to obtain a separate UK immigration status which will allow them to continue frontier working into the UK after exit.

Rights of UK nationals who are resident in the EU by the date of exit (29 March 2019).

The UK cannot act unilaterally to protect the rights of UK nationals in the EU. The UK Government has called upon the EU and Member States to uphold their commitments to citizens and to protect the rights of UK nationals in the EU in the event of a ‘no deal’ scenario. The UK Government wants UK nationals to be able to stay in the Member States that they live in when we leave, and for their rights to employment, healthcare, education, benefits and services to be protected and has asked Member States to set out details of how they would do so as soon as possible.

Immigration from the EU in the longer term

The UK Government has stated its commitment to a non preferential immigration system in the medium to longer term (i.e. post any transition period). The Government has proposed a single immigration system that treats EU countries the same as non EU countries. The UK is also looking to introducing e-gate visa checks for tourists and visitors coming to the country for short stay business trips from all low risk countries. The ability of people from trading partners to deliver services and student exchange programmes will form part of future trade agreements.

It is our assumption that such a system would need to be phased in and therefore it is possible that freedom of movement or something very close to this would effectively continue in the short term, in the event of a no deal scenario, as there would not be sufficient time to put a new immigration system in place at the point at which we leave the EU.