We were already aware that, in the event of no deal, EU/EEA nationals living in the UK on 29 March 2019 could continue to register for Pre Settled Status and Settled Status. We also knew that, in the event of a deal, EU Law would continue to operate until the end of December 2020 while the Government prepare new Immigration Rules.
We now know what will happen between March 2019 and April 2020, if there is no deal:
- During this period, EU and EEA nationals will be able to continue to travel to the UK using their passport and will be given an initial right to live and work here for three months. This is consistent with the current law.
- Before the end of the three month period, a migrant will need to register with the Home Office for temporary leave to remain. This will allow them to continue to live and work in the UK for a further three years. Little is known about the application process but it will involve online criminality and suitability checks.
- The application for temporary leave to remain will involve a fee, but the fee level has not yet been published. The equivalent status under the existing EU rules costs £65, but a similar status under the Immigration Rules costs £1,033 so there is a range of options available to the Home Office.
- The three year visa will not lead to a permanent right to stay in the UK. Instead, anyone with temporary leave to remain will need to qualify for a visa under the new Rules that are likely to come into force in early 2021. This means that, in the event of a no deal, there will be a great deal of uncertainty for people entering the UK. In addition, there will be a great deal of uncertainty for anyone employing someone on this basis, as there will be no guarantee they can remain after December 2020.
While the announcement offers some comfort to individuals and businesses planning for the period immediately after Brexit, there is still uncertainty about the long term future of immigration from the EU. With this in mind, it is important that individuals already in the UK, and those that employ them, continue to take steps to safeguard their position.
If you have any questions about the Pre Settled/Settled Status Scheme, or other immigration questions, please get in touch.