The UK is leaving the European Union on 31st January 2020.
Here are 5 important points for EU nationals and the businesses that employ them.
Free movement will continue until the end of 2020. EU and EEA nationals who already live in the UK can stay. New EU and EEA nationals can also move to the UK to work just as they did before.
Now is the time to take stock, and start planning for the end of free movement.
1. Any EU nationals thinking of moving the UK should do so during 2020.
EU nationals and their family members can continue to move the UK during 2020. After that, they will have to make an immigration application. These are expensive, cumbersome and stressful. If you are able to move your plans forward in order to make sure of free movement, then consider doing so.
Employers considering transferring staff from the EU to the UK should also bear this in mind.
2. EU nationals should make an application soon if they have not yet done so.
The deadline to apply for settled or pre-settled status is June 2021. If there is no reason to put off applying, then apply sooner rather than later. Those who are going to reach the 5 year mark before June 2021 may want to wait until they get there. However, it is vital not to forget.
3. Can you become a British Citizen?
Some will be eligible to apply for British Citizenship if they want to. In particular, those who applied for a permanent residence card in the past may well be eligible.
This is important if you intend to leave to UK for an extended period, and want the ability to return. Settled Status will lapse after 5 years outside the UK. If you think that this may apply to you, consider when you will be able to naturalise and start planning for it.
4. One size does not fit all.
Check the position based on your own situation. Not everybody needs to apply for settled status. Irish nationals do not need to, although their no EU spouses do. Those who are already naturalised don’t need to apply either. Some people don’t have to apply, but might choose to. Those who already has ‘indefinite leave to remain’ should consider this option.
5. Put 31st December 2020 in your diary
This is the new cliff edge when free movement will end. Employers will need to review their right to work check procedures for new hires, and get to grips with the new online checks.
We expect a new Immigration Bill to be published in spring 2020. This will give us a much better idea of what immigration will look like in the future. This is likely to be more expensive and restricted that the current free movement arrangements.
Please contact one of our specialist Immigration Solicitors for expert legal advice here.
All advice is correct at time of publication.