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The withdrawal agreement outlines the arrangements for the UK’s withdrawal from the EU and sets out the framework for future relationship between the UK and EU.
This means that after 47 years of membership, the UK is no longer a member of the EU. The UK is now in transition period, where the current rules regarding trade, travel and business for the UK and EU will be maintained until the end of 31 December 2020. Thus, the ability for EU citizens to easily live and work in the UK, known as the ‘freedom of movement’, will now have to be considered by the British Government as part of it’s Brexit plans.
The Government have prepared and published guidance for individuals and businesses regarding the UK leaving the EU. The Migration Advisory Committee, a non-statutory body, offers advice relating to governmental and migration issues, and also provide free detailed information and updates.
Freedom of movement will continue to apply throughout the EU during such transition period, essentially meaning the current rules on travel for the UK and EU will continue to remain the same. EU nationals can continue to live and work in the EU as before Brexit, the same applies to UK nationals living and working in the EU.
Brexit negotiations are ongoing regarding how UK immigration will be handled once freedom of movement comes to an end. The Government intends to introduce new immigration rules for EU nationals by 31 January 2020, unless the transition period is extended after this date. Therefore, there is still uncertainty in regards to how the UK’s immigration system will work and the impact on free movement for EU and non EU citizens wishing to move to the UK.
For British Citizens, there is no need to apply to remain in the UK after Brexit. The rights of Irish Citizens will also remain unaffected by Brexit. Thus, Irish citizens’ existing rights to study and live within the UK continue to apply following Brexit.
For EU citizens and their family members wishing to remain living in the UK post Brexit, an application will need to be made to the EU Settlement Scheme to apply for an immigration status. The scheme also covers citizens of Switzerland, Iceland, Norway, and Liechtenstein.
There is no cost to apply, and the scheme process is currently open for applications. The deadline for applying to the EU Settlement Scheme is 30 June 2021. For further information about eligibility and to commence the application process see here.
If a pre-settled or settled status is granted, EU citizens and their family members can continue living, working, enrolling for education, using the NHS and gaining access to public benefits.
Employers must continue to conduct right to work checks on prospective employees. There will be no change to the right to work of EU citizens arriving in the UK before 1 January 2021. Employers can obtain detailed guidance on employing EU citizens after Brexit via the UK government’s website.
During times of political change, the implications and changes of Brexit can be overwhelming for individuals affected, particularly EU Citizens who wish to stay within, or move, to the UK after Brexit.
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