The EU Withdrawal Agreement Bill, paving the way for the United Kingdom to leave the European Union on January 31, 2020, has been passed by the new UK Parliament. Although the Bill will now be subjected to further scrutiny in Parliament, the government is intent on the bill being put into law in time for the Brexit deadline of January 31, 2020.
What Does this Mean?
This means that there will be a transition period and free movement will continue until December 31, 2020. EU nationals residing in the United Kingdom by December 31, 2020 will have until June 21, 2021 to apply to remain in the United Kingdom under the EU Settlement Scheme.
How Can You Prepare?
1.Protect your employees’ residence rights: Ratifying the Withdrawal Agreement will make the EU-UK deal on citizens’ rights binding on both parties in international law. This means that the cut-off date for establishing residence in order to benefit from UK-EU freedom of movement will now be December 31, 2020, instead of January 31, 2020. Make sure your employees taken the proper steps to establish residence in the UK, if applicable and eligible.
2.Prepare for a new UK immigration scheme: The UK government has promised that free movement will not be extended beyond the end of 2020, and EU nationals arriving in the UK from January 1, 2021 will be subject to the new UK immigration regime which will be applicable to all nationalities.
3.Plan ahead for 2021 assignments and hires to UK: Any assignments, hires, or moves planned for early 2021 to UK should be reviewed to see if they can be advances or in some circumstances, have prospective employees visit the United Kingdom and make an application before the cut off date. After the cut off date in 2021, it may cost more and take longer to recruit EU nationals, and it is not clear whether overseas workers will be able to travel to fill lower skilled jobs in the UK and those who are allowed may be limited to 12 or 24 months’ stay.
4.British citizens in EU countries after 2021. British citizens arriving in EU countries (other than Ireland) on or after January 1, 2021 will be subject to the standard immigration rules for non-EU foreign workers, which vary from country to country. Similarly, business travellers will have to comply with the specific restrictions in each country they visit.
Employers who may be effected are encouraged to contact a Wolfsdorf Rosenthal immigration attorney or email the WR Global Immigration team at Global@Wolfsdorf.com for case specific advice.