Immigration Update on Brexit

The UK government is to expect its third Prime Minister in July in the 3 years since the EU Exit Referendum took place. The new leader is likely to define the course of Brexit negotiations, and its outcome. As thing stand, the UK is set to leave the EU on 31 October 2019.

The success of the Brexit Party in the recent EU Parliamentary elections has undoubtedly increased the chances of a no-deal Brexit. The front-runner for the Prime Minister, Boris Johnson, supports a no-deal Brexit if a better deal than Theresa’s May’s cannot be reached. However, the EU has made it clear that they are unwilling to reopen negotiations.

This means if a deal cannot be reached by 31 October 2019, the UK will the EU without a deal.

The EU Settlement Scheme

A no-deal Brexit means a watered-down version of the EU-Settlement Scheme. This means:

Only those EU nationals who are resident in the UK before the Exit date of 31 October 2019, can apply under this scheme.
Those entering after 31 October 2019, will be subject to the EU Temporary Leave to Remain regime, which provides an initial 3-month leave, and can be extended to up to 36 months. This visa will not lead to indefinite leave to remain.

However, if a deal is reached, EU nationals can apply for the EU Settlement Scheme until June 2021, provided they entered the UK before the end of the transition period, i.e. 31 December 2020

What can employers do now to reduce uncertainty?

UK employers who employ EU citizens should take the following steps:

Identify the number of EU Citizens in their workforce
Provide them with guidance on the EU Settlement Scheme
Plan for the post-Brexit Immigration system.

Following Brexit, employers will require a Sponsor licence before they can employ most EU nationals. Therefore, it is important for employers to plan now, and obtain a Sponsor Licence, if appropriate.

At Clarkslegal LLP, we have extensive experience in supporting UK-businesses in respect of their legal matters. We can provide Brexit-related immigration/employment law seminars/webinars which can be tailor-made to fit the client’s objectives. However, the most popular topics include:

  • Advice on the EU Settlement Scheme
  • Brexit-related Immigration and Employment Law changes
  • Preparing for Brexit
  • Applying for a Sponsor licence
  • How to remain compliant (for existing licenced sponsors).