The UK is now 2 months away from its exit date from the EU. However, it is yet to agree on what type of Brexit deal it wants from the EU. This means that there remains a significant chance of exiting the EU without a deal.
A no-deal would mean that the scope of the EU Settlement Scheme would only cover those EEA Citizens who are resident in the UK by 29 March 2019. Those arriving later would be covered by a new immigration system which would not begin until 2021.
For the period between 30 March 2019 and 2021, the Government has now published guidance for EEA Citizens coming to the UK after 29 March 2019. This guidance provides an interim immigration system until the ‘new immigration system’ comes into force. The interim immigration system for EU nationals will entail the following:
- Freedom of Movement ends on 30 March 2019
- EEA Citizens and their family members become subject to immigration control
- EEA Citizens will be able to enter the UK and would not need to apply for a visa if they intend on staying for less than 3 months. Their family members would need to apply for a family permit before they can enter.
- If they intend on staying for longer than 3 months, they would be able to extend their visa for up to 36 months (from the date of application) known as European Temporary Leave to Remain (ETLR). This will be a fee-paid application.
- They would not be able to extend their ETLR and this would not lead to Indefinite Leave to Remain (ILR) or leave under the EU Settlement Scheme.
- If EEA Citizens want to stay in the UK beyond this 36-month period, they would have to apply under the new immigration scheme (details yet to be announced).
- The application will be online.
- Irish citizens remain unaffected as their rights are protected under the Common Travel Area arrangements.
This further guidance is an important reminder on the significant changes EEA Citizens will face in a no deal situation. We expect further details of this interim arrangement to be published prior to 29 March 2019, which will be through an amendment to the Immigration Rules.
It is likely that the scheme will be run similarly to the EU Settlement Scheme in terms of procedure, however, the resulting visa will have significantly reduced rights with no route to settlement.
Those who wish to enter the UK may want to consider arriving before 29 March 2019 and applying for pre-settled status which would allow them to have a route to settlement.
30th January 2019