The current situation for EU nationals18 Nov 2019 // Insights
Immigration Partner Ahmed Ajina details what EU nationals residing in the UK should know regarding Brexit.
EU nationals and their family members who began residing in the United Kingdom before 1 November 2019 will continue to enjoy the same rights they currently enjoy up until 31 December 2020. This means that up until this date, EU nationals will continue to be able to travel in to and out of the United Kingdom (i.e. visa free travel), take up employment, and have access to the NHS, the education system, and the public funds system (e.g. benefits and pensions). If EU nationals want to stay in the United Kingdom after the 31 December 2020, then they will need to apply for either ‘pre-settled status’ or ‘settled status.’
‘Pre-settled status’ gives EU nationals the right to remain in the United Kingdom for a period of 5 years. EU nationals will be eligible for this type of residency if they started living and working in the United Kingdom before the above dates and have been in the United Kingdom for less than 5 years.
‘Settled status’ gives EU nationals the right to remain in the United Kingdom indefinitely. EU nationals will be eligible for this type of residency if they have been in the United Kingdom for a continuous period of five years.
The situation for EU nationals who move to the UK after 1 November 2019
EU nationals who began residing in the United Kingdom after 1 November 2019 will need to apply for residence under the European Temporary Leave to Remain Scheme or ‘Euro TLR’. EU nationals will be granted residence status for a period of 3 years and will give them the same rights that EU nationals would have previously enjoyed prior to Brexit. The Home Office has announced that EU citizens who arrive on or after 1 November 2019 and who do not apply for Euro TRL will become illegally resident and subject to enforcement action after 1 January 2021.
The situation for EU Nationals who move to the UK in 2021
The situation will change for EU nationals who move to the UK in 2021 when the United Kingdom will introduce its post-Brexit immigration system. The precise date for the introduction of the new system is not yet known, though the government has alluded to January 2021. Furthermore, it is not yet known what the new system will look like and what requirements EU nationals will need to meet in order to secure residence in the United Kingdom.
The White Paper, which was the government’s written proposal for changes to law and policy published in 2018 under the May government, suggested that the new immigration system for EU nationals would be similar to the current system, that being a “skill-based” points based system placing EU migrants on the same footing as migrants outside the EU. Under the current system, migrants will require an employer to sponsor their residence in the United Kingdom and will need to be offered a position at a minimum NQF skill level attracting a salary of at least £30,000. Alternative routes include a youth mobility visa allowing 18 to 30-year-olds to come for two years to work without an initial job offer, and a year-long temporary visa for lower-skilled workers with prohibitions on bringing family or claiming benefits.
However, the Migration Advisory Committee have recently been tasked with considering the introduction of an Australian style point-based system. As a result, it is possible that the 2018 White Paper will become redundant, with a complete and fundamental overhaul of the immigration system for EU nationals. It remains unclear at this point what EU nationals who wish to move to the United Kingdom in 2021 will be required to do in order to secure their residence status in the United Kingdom. To date, the Home Office has not published the new immigration system for EU nationals. The Home Office has however said that it is currently “engaging with employers” on the future system and would announce details next year to give businesses time to adapt before implementation from January 2021.
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