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Brexit and Immigration: What You Need to Know
How Did We Get Here?
On 23 June 2016, the UK held a referendum asking voters in England, Scotland, Wales and Northern Ireland if they wanted to remain a member of, or to leave, the EU. 51.89% of UK voters voted to leave the EU.
The UK government triggered the Article 50 process to commence withdrawal negotiations with the EU, thereby establishing an exit date of 29 March 2019. However, with no majority for the exit deal agreed with the EU, the Article 50 period had to be extended several times and the exit date postponed.
Eventually, in the 12 December 2019 general election, the Conservative party won with a substantially increased parliamentary majority, and was able to push the Withdrawal Agreement Bill through parliament and take the UK out of the EU on 31 January 2020.
What Happens Next?
Under the withdrawal agreement, free movement rights will continue until the end of the transition period (31 December 2020 unless extended).
[Note that the UK has reached separate agreements with the EEA EFTA states (Iceland, Liechtenstein and Norway), as well as with Switzerland, on protecting citizens’ rights after Brexit.]
EU Citizens in the UK
- All EU citizens arriving in the UK before 31 December 2020 will have until 30 June 2021 to register, through the EU Settlement Scheme;
- Family members in a relationship with the EU citizen before the end of the transition period will be able to join those with settled status at any future date;
- New immigration rules, applying to EU nationals arriving after transition, should come into effect by January 2021. EEA workers will be treated the same as non-European nationals under the existing system, but with some amendments to the system. The government’s proposal is analysed in detail here but is subject to further changes.
- Family members of an EU citizen arriving after 31 December 2020, will be subject to a future immigration scheme.
- Newland Chase understands that it is vital to our clients to ensure the continued rights of their EU nationals in the UK, and offers a comprehensive, tailored set of services to support and minimize the impact of Brexit.
UK Nationals in the EU
- The rights of UK nationals resident in the EU before the end of the transition period (31 December 2020, unless extended), and of their family members, will be similarly protected, though registration schemes will vary between members states.
- Employers are encouraged to review their UK business traveller and cross-border commuter population in the EU, as their current activities may be considered work after Brexit and may require a work permit.
- Newland Chase has developed an extensive end-to-end service offering to assist employers in supporting their UK national employees in the EU.
With the complex, fast-changing nature of Brexit, and the potential impact on our clients – Newland Chase has formed a dedicated Brexit Team to address our client’s concerns and support them throughout this turbulent time. Newland Chase’s team of qualified consultants possess industry-leading expertise in the complexities of the laws and processes for visas and immigration both in the UK and the various EU member states.
Our professionals offer bespoke solutions for businesses of every size and every industry. Our specialists will work with you to ensure that you, your business, and your workforce receive fully tailored services designed for your particular needs.
What is the UK Settlement Scheme for EU Nationals?
The EU Settlement Scheme launched in full on 30 March 2019. From that date, EU nationals exercising the right to reside and work in the UK will need to apply for updated status under the new scheme.
We understand that it is vital to our clients to ensure the continued rights of their EU nationals, and that navigating this new system is no small undertaking. Newland Chase therefore offers a comprehensive set of services to support and minimize the impact of Brexit for both corporate and private clients alike.
We’ll work with you to tailor our services to your needs so that you can approach the new scheme with confidence and clarity. For businesses of every size, in every sector – from those looking to outsource the process from start to finish, to those who just require the occasional guiding hand – we’ll find the right settlement solution for you:
- Start-to-Finish Support – A fully-managed service to assist your EU national employees and family members navigate through the Settlement Scheme. Newland Chase will contact, assess, and provide a recommendation to each applicant, provide instruction on the process and required documentation, and assist with the application. To ensure your employees are fully compliant, Newland Chase’s immigration management technology platform will also track and report the progress for each employee, group, or the employee population as a whole and retain the documentation confirming the updated settled status for your access.
- Application Preparation – Newland Chase consultants will assess, prepare, and process the application from start to finish for an EU national and their family members.
- One-to-One Assistance – Direct access to our EU specialists and application support team at your location. Visiting your sites to hold one-to-one sessions with your employees, we will provide personalized consultation and in-person assistance with the submission of settlement applications.
- Instructional Seminars and Webinars – Whether in-person or online, our live workshops guide your employees through the process of submitting an application and the standard documentation required for both Settled and Pre-settled status, as well as for those already holding Permanent Residence. Workshops can be tailored to the requirements of your EU national employees and can be easily paired with one-to-one assistance for additional consultation. For clients who want maximum instruction but with minimal disruption, our workshops can be presented in an online webinar format, allowing your employees to join at a time and place convenient for them.
Contact your Newland Chase account manager to discuss how we can best assist your EU national employees and their families update their status and protect their rights to work and reside in the UK.
With the anticipated end of freedom of movement for UK nationals in the EU at the end of the Withdrawal Agreement transition period, obtaining permission to live and work in an EU member state will become much more complicated.
After the transition period, or after a no-deal Brexit, immigration rules for UK nationals will vary depending on the host member state, the date of arrival in the EU, and the terms of the future relationship eventually agreed between the EU and the UK.
Affected employers can protect the right to live and work of their UK nationals currently residing in EU member states, by assisting them in fulfilling the new national requirements applicable to them.
Employers are encouraged to review their UK business traveler and cross-border commuter population in the EU, as their current activities may be considered work after Brexit and may require a work permit.
How Can Newland Chase Help?
- UK Nationals Residing in the EU: Employee Due Diligence
Employee audit – addressing all affected populations, including EU residents and regular cross-border commuters in EU countries;
Employee status check;
Review of current residence and registration documents of staff located in the EU;
EU country-specific templates for employee impact
- Pre-Assessment of UK Business Traveler Activity
Identification of the most common roles and activities of commuters and business travelers in the EU;
Assessment of which activities require a work permit after Brexit;
Check that relevant departments and the impacted employees are aware of the 90/180 days Schengen
- Immigration Application Management
End-to-end management of business visa and work and residence permit applications.
- Training and Communication
HR training sessions, business-wide webinars or seminars;
Interactive employee Q&A sessions (“clinics”) ;
Communication to employees;
Country requirements overviews.
Contact your Newland Chase account manager to discuss how we can best assist you to protect the right to reside and work in the EU of your UK national employees and their families.
Keeping a keen eye on Brexit developments, and ensuring that they are equipped with the very latest breaking news on what Brexit means for migration, our immigration specialists are frequently invited to speak about Brexit at industry events and working groups. Newland Chase also hosts regular events for our clients delivering the most up to date information and guidance – this includes live interactive webinars which are available on-demand below.
Our analysts have also published a number of whitepapers and guides; please download these below.
Live Brexit Guides and White Papers
Brexit Business Traveler FAQ
24 October 2019
If the UK leaves the EU without an agreement in place, how will visa and travel requirements change – UK to EU and EU to UK? Essential info for business travelers.
Live Brexit Guide: Brexit Overview – What Happens Next?
19 December 2019
If the UK leaves the EU without a ratified Withdrawal Agreement, UK nationals will immediately become third-country (non-EU) nationals.
Live Brexit Guide: No-Deal Measure for UK Nationals in the EU
9 October 2019
No-Deal Brexit Measures for UK Nationals in the EU.
Current Status for EU and UK Nationals in the Event of Either an Orderly or Disorderly Brexit
15 February 2019
With the United Kingdom’s Parliament now handing the Prime Minister’s proposed Brexit withdrawal deal three significant defeats, and attempts to renegotiate with the European Union seemingly going nowhere – a “no-deal” Brexit on 29 March 2019 is now becoming an increasing possibility. As things stand now, the road forward appears to be a choice between a no-deal Brexit on 29 March or postponing Brexit beyond 29 March in hopes of eventually getting a deal.
Prepare to Brexit: 78 Days and Counting…
10 January 2019
With the vote in the UK Parliament on the controversial Brexit withdrawal deal between the United Kingdom and the European Union now slated for the week of 14 January, chances of its passage look slim, and chances of a no-deal Brexit are rapidly increasing. The withdrawal of the UK from the EU is now expected on 29 March 2019 – unless the UK’s Article 50 notice is extended. Whether there is a deal or no-deal, the UK’s withdrawal from the EU impacts all aspects of the relationship – including immigration, permanent residency, visas, and work permits.
Racing to Brexit: Six Months to Go
1 October 2018
Six Months to Go Where We Are, What We Know, and What You Should Do… Six Months from Brexit Day. With the 29 March 2019 Brexit Day just six months away, Newland Chase gives this quick snapshot of where we are, what we know, and what you should do when it comes to immigration and mobility.
Business After Brexit: Visas and Immigration Explained
13 February 2020
Join our UK and EU immigration experts for this deep dive into the current status and guidance on visas and
immigration for companies and employees during the transition period and beyond. In this live, interactive,
60-minute webinar, you’ll get:
- Updates on the state of UK and EU visas and immigration policies during 2020;
- Current information and insight on where UK and EU visas and immigration policies likely are headed
after December 31, 2020;
- Concrete steps that companies and their UK and EU citizen employees should be taking now to protect
their rights to live, work and travel;
- Guidance for companies on plotting HR and mobility strategy to ensure access to needed talent and
markets in a post-Brexit Europe.
Brexit Update: Next Steps for Your Business | On-Demand Webinar
9 October 2019
Whether the UK leaves the EU with or without a withdrawal agreement, this 60-minute webinar will equip
your company with practical knowledge, up-to-date information, and concrete action steps on the impact
of Brexit on:
- Your British employees’ residence status, for current and future residents in the EU;
- The rights of your EU nationals in the UK, both for those arriving before as well as after
- Your British and EU business travelers, after Brexit has taken place.
UK Nationals in the EU: Brexit Strategy Planning | On-Demand Webinar
Newland Chase understands the challenges that businesses and their UK national employees living
across the EU face. Whether the UK leaves the EU with or without a withdrawal agreement, this
60-minute webinar will equip companies and their employees with practical knowledge, up-to-date
information, and concrete action steps on:
- The impact of Brexit on your UK national employees’ residence status;
- Steps to take now to protect your employees’ immigration status; and
- Answers to your questions in a live, interactive format.
Remaining in the UK after Brexit: Essential Settlement Guidance for EU Nationals |
In this 60-minute webinar, you’ll gain practical knowledge and up-to-date information on:
- Brexit, the end of Freedom of Movement, and the impact on the rights of EU nationals in the
- How-to instructions and guidance on using the new online EU Settlement system;
- Qualifications for Settled versus Pre-Settled status;
- Application and documentation requirements;
- How employers can best assist their EU national employees
Racing to Brexit: 6 Months to Go | On-Demand Webinar
Our UK immigration experts will cover:
- Review and perspective of the key events of the past 2 years and the events to watch for
over the next 6 months;
- Steps the UK government has taken to ensure the immigration status of EU nationals in the
- Steps the various EU governments are taking to ensure the immigration status of UK nationals
in the EU;
- Overview of recent publication of The Migration Advisory Committee (MAC) findings; and
- Steps companies need to be doing now to protect the rights and status of their EU employees
in the future.
Glossary of Brexit Terms
Article 50 of the Treaty of Lisbon outlines the process for a member state to withdraw from the EU. Prime Minister Theresa May triggered Article 50 on 29 March 2017, launching a two-year period for the UK to leave the EU.
Originally 29 March 2019. On 21 March 2019, the Prime Minister and the EU agreed an extension of the Article 50 period, until 22 May 2019 if the withdrawal agreement was approved by Parliament by 29 March 2019 (it was not approved); or until 12 April 2019, by which the UK had to present the EU with a way forward or leave with no deal. On 10 April 2019, the EU and the UK agreed a new extension, until 31 October 2019.
European Economic Area (EEA)
The EEA was formed on 1st January 1994, amalgamating the (then) 25 independent states of the European Union and the European Free Trade Area (Iceland, Liechtenstein and Norway).
European Union (EU)
The EU is the political and economic union of 28 countries.
A voting procedure held on 23 June 2016 in which voters were asked “Should the United Kingdom remain a member of the European Union?” 51.89% of voters voted to leave the EU.
EU Settlement Scheme
This scheme opened on 30 March 2019. In the event of an exit with a withdrawal agreement, EU citizens resident in the UK before 31 December 2020 will need to apply by 30 June 2021 to continue living in the UK. Their family members in a relationship by the same date, will be able to join them at any time in the future.
In the event of a no-deal exit, EU citizens resident in the UK by Brexit Day will need to apply by 31 December 2020 to continue living in the UK. Their family members in a relationship by Brexit Day will be able to join them within three years.
A successful application under the scheme will result in either “Settled” or “Pre-settled” status.
Freedom of Movement
EU citizens are permitted to live, work and study in any EU member state without requiring permission to work or study in that member state.
See Transition Period.
“No-deal” Brexit means the UK’s withdrawal from the EU without a Withdrawal Agreement in place.
Under the EU Settlement Scheme, EU nationals living in the UK, who do not yet qualify for Settled Status, may be granted Pre-Settled Status. Successful applicants will be permitted to remain in the UK until they are eligible to apply for Settled Status, usually five years.
A free travel area comprising 26 European countries that have abolished internal borders and have a common visa policy, allowing travelers to move freely within the Schengen Area. The Schengen countries are Austria, Belgium, Czech Republic, Denmark, Estonia, Finland, France, Germany, Greece, Hungary, Iceland, Italy, Latvia, Liechtenstein, Lithuania, Luxembourg, Malta, Netherlands, Norway, Poland, Portugal, Slovakia, Slovenia, Spain, Sweden, and Switzerland.
Under the EU Settlement Scheme, EU nationals living in the UK may apply for settled status. This is a grant of indefinite leave to remain in the UK and retains the same access to work, study, healthcare and other benefits as the rules currently permit.
A period from Brexit day up to and including 31 December 2020, the transition (or implementation) period is intended to allow both the UK and the EU time to make final agreements on their relationship. There would be no transition period as a result of a no-deal Brexit.
The separation agreement negotiated between the UK and the EU, this covers three main areas of the UK’s departure from the EU:
• The UK’s financial settlement with the EU;
• The post-Brexit rights of EU citizens in the UK and of UK citizens in the EU;
• A so-called ‘backstop’ to prevent a hard border between Northern Ireland and the Republic of Ireland, if alternative arrangements preventing such a hard border have not been agreed between the UK and the EU before the end of the transition period.
- Article 50