Brexit no deal? What happens with free movement of EU citizens?

29th January 2019

The government says that in the event of a no-deal Brexit, EU citizens coming to the UK after 29 March 2019 would have to apply for temporary leave to remain if they wished to visit, live or study longer than three months in the UK.

This will affect businesses and workers

The government has introduced an Immigration Bill to achieve this.

For a transitional period only, EEA citizens and their family members, including Swiss citizens, will still be able to come to the UK for visits, work or study and they will be able to enter the UK as they do now.

However, to stay longer than 3 months they will need to apply for permission and receive European Temporary Leave to Remain, which is valid for a further 3 years.

EU citizens wishing to stay for longer than 3 years will need to make a further application under the new skills-based future immigration system, which will begin from 2021.

The information set out by the government also confirms that if there is no deal:

  • EU citizens arriving in the UK who wish to stay longer than 3 months and apply for European Temporary Leave to Remain will be subject to identity, criminality and security checks before being granted permission to stay for three years
  • non-EU family members who wish to accompany an EU citizen under these arrangements will need to apply in advance for a family permit
  • EU citizens will be able to enter and leave the UK as they do now, using e-gates when travelling on a biometric passport
  • the initial 3 months’ leave to enter for EU citizens will be free of charge but applications for European Temporary Leave to Remain will be paid for. Fees will be set out at a later date
  • Irish citizens will not need to apply for European Temporary Leave to Remain and will continue to have the right to enter and live in the UK under the Common Travel Area

A new single skills-based immigration system is intended to operate from 2021.

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