If the UK crashes out of the EU on 29 March 2019 without a Brexit deal in place, EU nationals will no longer benefit from free movement provisions.
EU citizens arriving in the UK from 30 March will require permission to enter and remain in the UK. The temporary, transitional arrangements will operate until 31 December 2020 when they will be replaced by an all new immigration system, presently the subject of the recent White Paper.
The Immigration and Social Security Co-ordination (EU Withdrawal) Bill 2017-19 contains the transitional arrangements.
EU citizens travelling to the UK for short visits will be able to enter the UK and stay for up to 3 months. This grant of leave to remain will be given automatically on arrival but will differ from visitor status in that there will be no restrictions on employment or study. Non-EU family members will be required to make a paid application for a Family Permit prior to entry.
Any EU national (and non-EU family member) wishing to stay in the UK beyond the initial grant of 3 months will need to apply to the Home Office for leave to remain before the expiry of their initial leave. Failure to apply within 3 months and/or to hold valid leave to remain in the UK will render an individual an overstayor, meaning they will be in the UK unlawfully and could be subject to removal. The application will attract a fee, the amount of which is to be set at a later date.
Those who successfully apply to remain in the UK beyond the initial grant of 3 months will be granted leave to remain for 3 years. Any EU citizen (and non-EU family member) wishing to remain in the UK beyond 31 December 2020 will need to apply for whatever visa arrangements are in place under the new system from 1 January 2021.
The fact that there is no flesh on the bones of what the new immigration system will entail, the status of EU nationals following the end of the transitional arrangements is precarious. The proposal that individuals wishing to remain in the UK as “skilled workers” be paid a minimum salary of £30,000 would mean many working in skilled but poorly paid roles could be unable to qualify for leave to remain from 1 January 2021.
The transition to receiving permission under the Immigration Rules instead of under the EEA Regulations will mean that the significantly lower threshold on suitability and criminality will apply.
Until 2021, employers, landlords, the NHS and banks will not need to check whether an EU national is in the UK under the regulations in place prior to 29 March 2019 or under the transitional arrangements.
From 2021, checks must be made using the Home Office’s Digital Status Checker. Until 2021, EU citizens can evidence their right to work and their right to rent using a passport or national identity card, non-EU family members must produce a valid biometric residence permit. From 1 January 2021, both parties will need to produce evidence of their right to remain under the new immigration system (a biometric residence permit).
RLegal Solicitors are UK immigration specialists. If you require our assistance, please contact us via any of the methods on our web site.