The End of Free Movement Era
Free Movement Will End on 31 October 2019
Several days ago the UK government in their ‘No deal immigration arrangements for EU citizens arriving after Brexit’ policy paper announced the end of free movement as it currently stands under EU law.
Free movement of workers was a fundamental principle of the Treaty enshrined in Article 45 of the Treaty on the Functioning of the European Union. It allowed EU citizens to look for a job in another EU country. Also, they could work in any EU country without needing a work permit. Additionally, the free movement right allowed EU citizens and their family members to reside in another EU member state. EU citizens and their family members had a right to enjoy equal treatment with regards to employment, working conditions and all other social and tax advantages.
Well, all of this will end after Brexit, on 31 October 2019.
After this date, a completely new immigration era will begin.
I would like to start by saying that there is no need for EU citizens and their family to be concerned. They’ll have plenty of time to be well prepared for what is coming.
Two Key Dates
31 October 2019. This is when Brexit happens. The second important date to remember is 31 December 2020. This is when the transitional period will end. After 31 December 2020 all EU citizen and their family member will be
expected to have a digitally confirmed leave to remain.
In practice, after 31 December 2020, the Home Office will treat all EU citizens and their family members in a way, similar to how they treat visa nationals at the moment. In other words, it will expect them to have some form of permission (visa) to remain in the UK.
After 31 December 2020 the EU settlement scheme will be replaced by a new points-based system, similar to the one they have in Australia. The UK government already created one points-based system, which was implemented with moderate success (some routes were more successful than others).
So, what are your options before 31 December 2020?
Limited Leave to Remain
EU citizens and their family members who are currently residing in the UK can apply for limited leave to remain. This application will be under the EU settlement scheme. Who qualifies for this leave? In short, anyone who does not qualify for Indefinite Leave to Remain.
Indefinite Leave to Remain
EU citizens and their family members who are currently residing in the UK can also apply for indefinite leave to remain (ILR). ILR is permission to remain in the UK indefinitely. With some exceptions, EU citizen and their family member can apply for this type of leave after 5 years of continuous residence in the UK.
These are options for EU citizens and their family members who are already residing in the UK.
What about those, who arrive after 31 October 2019, after Brexit?
The situation is slightly different here.
The European Temporary Leave to Remain
After 31 October 2019, any EU citizen wishing to move to the UK will be able to apply for 36-month temporary
immigration status. It is called European Temporary Leave to Remain (Euro TLR).
Applications to the new Euro TLR plan will be straightforward and free. The Home Office will be expected the EU citizens to apply for Euro TLR after their entry to the UK.
According to the policy, the UK government intend to remove the ‘blue’ EU customs channel. After 31 October 2019 all passengers will have two options only: red or green custom channel.
The policy also states that the Surinder Singh route will also disappear. This is where family members of British citizens, who lived and worked in another Member State could return under the EU law as opposed to the UK domestic law.
And will be changing passport colour! From red to blue.
Just to summarise the rights of EU citizens and their family members. Those, EU citizens, who already reside and will be residing before 31 October 2019 should make an application for a settled (Indefinite Leave to Remain) or a pre-settled (Further leave to remain). They can do so before 31 December 2020.
Family members of the EU citizens living in the UK will be eligible to do the same thing. However, if they reside outside the UK and want to join their EU nationals who were residing in the UK before 31 October 2019. They will be able to do so by applying for Family Permit either:
- Under the EU settlement scheme; or
- The Immigration (European Economic Area) Regulations 2016
Again, this will be possible until 31 December 2019.
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