UNITED KINGDOM: Further Changes to Immigration Rules for No-Deal Brexit
On 24 October 2019, the government published another statement of changes to the Immigration Rules to prepare for a potential no-deal Brexit.
It also laid before Parliament the Immigration (Amendment) (EU Exit) Regulations 2019, which amend the Immigration (European Economic Area) Regulations 2016 to reflect the fact that the UK would no longer part of the EU after a no-deal Brexit.
The changes implement the government’s immigration plans should the UK leave the European Union on 31 October 2019 without a deal being agreed, which is currently an unlikely though possible outcome.
The changes affect EU, other EEA and Swiss citizens, and their family members.
The main changes made by the statement will come into effect on 31 October 2019, rather than after the usual period of 21 days from the date the measure is laid before Parliament.
What are the changes?
The changes will:
- Apply UK conduct and criminality thresholds to both the pre-exit and post-exit conduct of European Economic Area (EEA) and Swiss citizens and their family members moving to the UK after Brexit, to increase security and better protect the public. Those thresholds will also apply to the post-exit conduct of EEA and Swiss citizens living here before Brexit, and their family members, and to the pre-exit as well as post- exit conduct of EU citizens living here before Brexit, and their family members, where their conduct after exit results in a sentence of imprisonment;
- Provide access to the EU Settlement Scheme for certain categories of family members joining an EEA or Swiss citizen resident in the UK before Brexit, with applications by such family members able to rely on residence in the UK which began after Brexit, and to reflect the deadline by when applications by such family members will need to be made;
- Establish the European Temporary Leave to Remain Scheme, for EEA and Swiss citizens, and their close family members, moving to the UK after a ‘no-deal’ Brexit and before the start of the new points-based immigration system from January 2021, to enable them to obtain a UK immigration status so that they can continue living and working here for a temporary period after 2020;
- Amend the documentary evidence which may be relied upon by EU citizens and their family members for admission to the UK. They also remove the scope for EEA and Swiss citizens and their family members moving to the UK after a no deal Brexit to acquire permanent residence under EU law and the scope for UK nationals and their family members moving to the EU27 after a no deal Brexit to return here under current EU law-based arrangements.
Employers who may be affected are encouraged to contact a Newland Chase immigration specialist for case-specific advice.