The Government has now published a policy paper setting out the position in respect of immigration into the UK after 29th March 2019 in the event that no deal is agreed with the European Union and, consequently, that the transitional arrangements contained within the Withdrawal Agreement do not take effect.
In summary the position is as follows:
- Freedom of Movement will end on 30th March 2019.
- EU citizens and their family members arriving in the UK will be admitted under UK immigration rules and will require permission (leave to enter or remain).
- Those who do not hold valid immigration permission to be in the UK will be here unlawfully and may be liable to enforcement action.
- EU citizens and their family members already residing in the UK on 29th March 2019 will continue to be eligible for the EU Settlement and Pre-Settlement Scheme. Qualifying EU nationals will be eligible to apply under this scheme until 31st December 2020 under temporary transitional arrangements.
- Transitional arrangements will also apply to EU citizens entering the UK to work or study from 30th March 2019 to 31st December 2020.
Visiting the UK
EU citizens will be eligible to visit the UK for up to three months from the date of entry without requiring a visa.
Entering the UK
EU citizens will continue to be able to enter the UK as now, using e-gates when travelling on a biometric passport.
EU citizens will automatically be granted leave to enter for three months on arrival and they will be able work and study. This means they will be able to start these activities immediately on arrival.
Until 31st December 2020, EU citizens will be able to enter bu showing either a valid national identity card or a passport.
Applying to stay longer
EU citizens wishing to stay longer than three months will be required to apply to the Home Office for leave to remain within three months of arrival. Subject to security checks, permission to stay will be granted for 36 months. This will be non-extendable, temporary leave so those who wish to stay longer-term will have to apply in due course under new immigration arrangements.
These new arrangements are likely to come into force on 1st January 2021, although EU citizens who have been granted permission to stay under the transitional arrangements will continue to benefit from permission to work until the conclusion of the 36 month grant.
Employers and landlords will not be required to distinguish between EU citizens who were resident before or after exit until new immigration arrangements are introduced in 2021.
EU citizens who arrive on or after 30 March 2019 may be accompanied by their EU citizen family members. They may also be accompanied or joined by close family members (spouse, partner, dependent child under 18) who are third country nationals.
The initial three months’ leave to enter will be free of charge, but fees will be payable for longer periods of stay.
Irish citizens will continue to have the right to enter and live in the UK under Common Travel Area arrangements.