Brexit and transitional rules for EU nationals – an update on ‘no deal’

Food and agri businesses that are reliant on EU nationals will be particularly interested in the updated guidance on transitional arrangements for EU nationals that will apply in the event of a ‘no-deal’ exit from the EU that have now been published.

The key points for employers and staff to be aware of are as follows:

  • EU Settlement Scheme- EU nationals who are resident in the UK by 11pm on 31 October 2019 will be covered by the EU Settlement Scheme.  This will run whether there is a ‘deal’ or ‘no-deal’ Brexit, meaning the right of residence and ability to access benefits and public services should be preserved.  The deadline for applications will be 31 December 2020 (in a no-deal scenario) or 30 June 2021 (in a ‘deal’ scenario).  It may, however, be sensible for EU nationals to apply on or before 31 October 2019, so they are ‘in the system’ before exit date.  This may help in establishing that the person was resident in the UK before the UK’s exit from the EU.
  • Euro TLR- EU nationals who are not resident in the UK on or before 31 October 2019 will continue to be able to enter the UK freely (without needing a visa) to live and work from the date the UK leaves the EU until 31 December 2020.  However, a person who moves to the UK after a ‘no-deal’ exit and wishes to remain resident beyond 31 December 2020 will need to apply under the new European temporary leave to remain scheme (Euro TLR).  It seems that the deadline for Euro TLR applications will be 31 December 2020, irrespective of the date when the person entered the UK after exit.  Euro TLR will grant the holder permission to remain in the UK for 36 months with the ability to study and work.  At the end of this period, holders of Euro TLR will need to apply for further permission to remain in the UK under the new immigration system (expected to be implemented from January 2021).  Details of the new immigration rules and any switching requirements are not expected to be published for several months.  However, the Government has indicated that time spent in the UK with Euro TLR status will count towards residency requirements for future indefinite leave to remain/settlement applications.
  • Frontier workers– there have been developments in respect of EU nationals who live in another EU country, but regularly travel to the UK in order work for a UK employer (often referred to as frontier workers).  There should be no change to their ability to enter the UK and work until 31 December 2020.  From 1 January 2021, the Government will be implementing a new ‘frontier worker permit’ to enable these individuals to continue to enter the UK for work purposes, although very limited details have been published to date.  These individuals may also be eligible to apply under the Settlement Scheme, but may only qualify for pre-settled status due to the number of absences from the UK.

Our specialist immigration team is on hand to provide advice and support, including running briefing and Q&A sessions for EU staff. 

Please contact Alex Russell for further details on Tel: +44 (0) 1603 693469 (Ext 3469) Mob: +(44)(0)7918 739538 Email: [email protected]


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