Government outlines no deal arrangement for EU citizens

Author: Kelly Whiter

Today (28 January 2018) the Home Secretary Sajid Javid finally set out provisions for EU citizens arriving in the UK after 29 March 2019 in the event of a no deal Brexit.

According to the information released, in a no-deal scenario the government will seek to end free movement as soon as possible, but, for a transitional period, EEA citizens and their family members, including Swiss citizens; will still be able to come to the UK to visit, work or study in the same way as they do currently.

However should those individuals wish to stay beyond 3 months, an application for European Temporary Leave to Remain will need to be made, within 3 months of their arrival, which will be granted for a further 3 years, if approved.

The information released confirms that:

  • EU citizens arriving in the UK between 30 March 2019 and 31 December 2020 who wish to stay for longer than 3 months and apply for European Temporary Leave to Remain will be subject to identity, criminality and security checks before being granted permission to stay for 3 years;
  • Non-EU family members who wish to accompany an EU citizen will need to apply for a family permit in advance of travel;
  • EU citizens will be able to enter and leave the UK as they currently do, using e-gates when travelling on a biometric passport;
  • There will be no charge for the initial 3 months’ leave to enter for EU citizens;
  • Applications for European Temporary Leave to Remain will require a fee to be paid details of which are yet to be published;
  • Irish citizens are not required to apply for European Temporary Leave to Remain and will continue to have the right to enter and live in the UK under domestic Common Travel Area arrangements;
  • These arrangements apply to citizens of EFTA states (Switzerland, Norway, Iceland and Liechtenstein);
  • During the transition period employers and other third parties, such as landlords, will not be required to distinguish between EU citizens’ resident pre-exit and those arriving post-exit.

Today’s announcement makes it clear that European Temporary Leave to Remain will be a non-extendable, temporary grant of leave and will not lead to settlement. Individuals wishing to remain beyond the 3 years granted under this route will need to make a further application under the new skills-based future immigration system which is to begin from 1 January 2021.

For those EU citizens and their family members already resident in the UK by 29 March 2019 their position is unaffected and they will still be able to apply under the EU Settlement Scheme.

It is worth noting that the above provisions are subject to parliamentary approval and, before any of these proposals can be implemented, the enactment of the Immigration and Social Security Co-ordination (EU Withdrawal) Bill to end free movement must have taken place.

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