United Kingdom: Home Office Clarifies Position on EU Nationals During Brexit Transition

• The Home Office has set forth its position on EU nationals arriving in the United Kingdom during the Brexit transition period, which begins after the United Kingdom officially withdraws from the European Union on March 29, 2019. • The Home Office is proposing that EU nationals and their family members be able to move to the United Kingdom during this transition period on the same basis as they do now. This would also apply to UK nationals moving to the European Union during this period. • This proposal will be subject to negotiation with the European Union.

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Mar 02, 2018
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The situation

The Home Office has set forth a proposal on the rights of EU citizens in the United Kingdom during the Brexit transition period. This position will be negotiated with the European Union over the coming months.

A closer look

  • UK position on transition period.
    • The Home Office is proposing that EU nationals and their family members be able to move to the United Kingdom during the transition period after Brexit (March 29, 2019), on the same basis that they do today.
    • There would be no new constraints on EU nationals working or studying in the United Kingdom during this period.
    • This would also apply to UK nationals moving to the European Union during this period.
  • Registration.
    • EU nationals and their family members who arrive in the United Kingdom during the transition period and who choose to stay for more than three months would enter their names in a new registration system.
    • Irish nationals would not be required to register in the system.
  • After transition period. EU nationals and their family members who arrive, are residents in the United Kingdom and have registered during the transition period, would be offered the following rights after the transition period ends:
    • Indefinite leave to remain. These EU nationals would become eligible for indefinite leave to remain after they have spent five continuous years in the United Kingdom and maintained lawful residence.
    • Temporary status. These EU nationals would be able to remain lawfully in the United Kingdom while working, studying, or being self-sufficient (as defined by EU law) for the five years needed to apply for indefinite leave to remain.
  • Family members’ rights. Family members would be able to join the above EU nationals in the United Kingdom after the transition period in line with rules in place for British nationals.
  • Applications. Applications for status under this policy could be made during or within three months after the transition period.

Impact for EU nationals

The application process for temporary status and indefinite leave to remain would give EU nationals the ability to remain in the United Kingdom in a preferred status after the transition period ends.

EU nationals who arrive in the United Kingdom after the implementation period will be able to benefit from any more favorable aspects of these rules, if more favorable rules are implemented.

Background

The United Kingdom and the European Union are currently negotiating the terms of a transition period which will begin on March 29, 2019.

The United Kingdom's original position, under which EU nationals could enter during transition but may have been expected to stay, was troubling for employers. Ian Robinson set out the challenges in his Times article of February 15.

The purpose of the transition period is to give people, businesses and public services in the United Kingdom and across the European Union the time required to implement new arrangements to adjust to the future relationship.

Looking ahead

This proposal by the Home Office will be discussed during negotiations between the European Union and the United Kingdom in March 2018.

Fragomen will issue updates on Brexit as developments occur. For more information, please visit Fragomen’s dedicated Brexit site, which contains news, FAQs, and analysis/commentary in the form of blogs, videos, webcasts and events.

This alert is for informational purposes only. If you have any questions, please contact the global immigration professional with whom you work at Fragomen or send an email to londoninfo@fragomen.com.

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