The Home Office has issued a statement clarifying the position on immigration into the UK for EEA citizens in the event of a no-deal Brexit.
This follows the previous announcement that “freedom of movement will end” on 31 October in a no-deal scenario.
The new statement steps back significantly from the earlier implication that EEA nationals will be subject to visa or work authorisation requirements from 1 November. The new policy mirrors very closely the previous policy announced by the May administration in January 2019.
The Home Secretary says that after 31 October freedom of movement as it currently stands will end.
EEA citizens will still be able to enter the UK freely and without a visa. This is different from freedom of movement under EU membership as the status emanates from UK domestic law.
In practical terms there will be no change to process at the port of entry.
In order to remain in the UK over the long term to work, study, be self-employed or self-sufficient EEA and Swiss nationals will be required to apply under the European Temporary Leave to Remain Scheme (Euro TLR). Again this policy reflects the scheme announced by the previous administration.
Euro TLR is a status lasting three years.
The scheme will open only after the UK leaves the EU in a no-deal scenario. In the event of a deal freedom of movement will continue during a transition period whilst the UK and the EU negotiate a future trading relationship.
We are told that the process will be a simple online process establishing identity, security and criminality checks. Applicants will receive a digital status for three years enabling them to work and rent property during the period. This follows the protocol established by the EU Settlement Scheme.
After three years they will be required to apply under the UK’s new points-based immigration framework. We anticipate that this will be introduced in early 2021.
Employers will not be required to distinguish between EU citizens who arrived before and after exit until the future immigration system is introduced in 2021. This suggests that there will be no immediate changes to the Legal Right to Work Check (LRTW) regime.
EU citizens living in the UK by 31 October 2019 and their families will have until at least 31 December 2020 to make an application under the EU Settlement Scheme.