In a move which shows that the current Government has learned nothing from the Windrush Scandal, it was announced over the weekend that Home Secretary, Priti Patel, plans to end free movement of EU citizens on day 1 of Brexit-Britain, 1st November 2019.
Theresa May’s rejected Withdrawal Agreement was to have ensured a smooth transition following Brexit with transitional arrangements in place until July 2021. Under May’s leadership, a consultation process was set in place to create an entirely new immigration system to replace the existing one in December 2020 in anticipation of the end of free movement. That has, verbally at least, been thrown out of the window by the new Home Secretary. Free movement will end the day the UK exits the EU.
The government has said that European nationals can continue to come to the UK for holidays but that different rules will be effected for those wishing to work. The Home Office has 8 weeks to come up with a new immigration policy and implement it.
It is this reason that makes this writer think that this is just bluster, possibly even a further chip in the tough new stance bargaining process. If it isn’t, how will Immigration Officers, employers, landlords and the like distinguish between an EU national who arrives on the 31st of October and has a right to live and work in the UK enshrined in law with one who arrives on the 1st of November who doesn’t? Cue at best chaos, at worst a raft of illegal refusals as with the hostile environment and the Windrush Scandal.
We recommend that any EU national or their partner presently in the UK applies for EU Settled Status or EU Pre-Settled Status as a priority. Hopefully, a transitional arrangement will be worked out between the UK and the EU but if not, you should safeguard your rights.
RLegal Solicitors are here if you need our help.