The date of Brexit is fast approaching - 29th March 2019, that’s the date!

It’s the date which has been set to leave the European Union. With this date looming, both employers and individuals are seeking to ensure that they are aware of the changes in relation to immigration and right to work. So what is the latest information that we know.

Transition Period

After leaving Europe there is agreement in both camps that there will be transition period. This is from 29thMarch 2019 to 31st December 2020

Earlier this year, the government agreed and announced that individuals from EU who arrive in the UK during the transition period will have the same rights to settled in the UK as those who have arrived before 29th March 2019. As a result of this, the current immigration system for EU migrations will continue to apply.

Leave to Remain and Indefinite Leave to Remain

At the same time EU nationals, who have been living continuously in the UK for 5 years at the date of the application, will be eligible to apply for Indefinite Leave to Remain in the UK. This does not mean that the individual becomes a British Citizen it just means that they will have permanent residence in the UK. It will allow the individual to stay in the UK without any time limit and also allow the individual to take up employment or study without any restriction.

Individuals who have not completed the 5 year continuous residence but have lived in the UK for a shorter period of time at the date of their application, will be granted 5 years limited leave to remain, in order to take them to the 5 year mark. This is known as Leave to Remain.

EU Citizens and their family members must make an application under the EU Settlement Scheme by 30thJune 2021. The visa rights for Indefinite Leave to Remain or Limited Leave to Remain is not obtained by default but is subject to applying for such status.

At the present time, the scheme is being tested out and is hoping to be open by 30th March 2019. We do know that the application fee payable for the scheme is £65 or £32.50 for those aged under 16, on the date of the application.

After 30th June 2021, EU nationals will only be able to apply if they are joining a family member with settled or pre-settled status in the UK. Any children that are in the UK after a person has obtained pre-settled status will be automatically eligible for pre-settled status in the UK

It should be noted that Irish Citizens will not need to apply for the scheme.

So what if there is no deal?

Over the past few weeks, there has been urgency on preparing for a no deal. At the time of writing, there is no deal agreed.

The UK Government released a guidance note on 23rd August 2018 on “how to prepare if there’s no deal”. This guidance note states that the majority of workplace rights will not be affected. What will require special attention is that any EU employees who work outside the UK in an EU country for a UK employer should check whether they will be protected under the national guarantee fund that is established in that Country in the event that the employer becomes insolvent. Businesses with branches in Europe should seek further guidance as to the impact.

At the same time, EU Nationals will not simply be asked to leave UK. The reason for this is that the main provisions of the European Law on freedom of movement has been fully incorporated into UK law through the European Union (Withdrawal) Act 2018.

However for UK nationals living in the EEA is much more complex as it would be up to the individual countries how they would implement these changes. At the time of writing there is no clear direction.

Seasonal workers from the EU?

Over the past couple of weeks, the government has launched a pilot scheme for temporary visas for agricultural works. Through the scheme, agricultural workers will be able to work on farms for 6 months. After this time they must leave the country. It has been stressed by ministers that if there is evidence that the migrant workers were not returning to their home countries after their visa had expired then the scheme will be closed.

Key Dates ahead

We are expecting a report from the Migration Advisory Committee as to the costs and benefits of EU migrants to the UK economy. This is expected to be published later this month. Soon thereafter the Home Office will publish its own findings taking into the account the earlier report.

An EU Summit is taking place on 17th and 18th October. This has been seen as the deadline for an agreement. The reason for this is to allow enough time for the UK Parliament and the European Parliament to ratify it. The chances of an agreement by this date is not looking likely.

November is the month suggested by the EU has the latest period when a deal could be finalised. Should a deal be agreed, MP’s will be asked to approve it.

A further Summit is to take place on 13th and 14th December and may be a fall back option if both camps still want to reach an agreement.

So an eventful three months ahead. The question will be “is there a deal or no deal?”

So how can we help you.

It is essential that employers start planning for Brexit? Whether this is to provide support for their employees or to review contracts or even understanding the implications further, we at Lupton Fawcett can help you guide you through the barriers ahead and assist with your planning. For further information please contact Partner Arif Khalfe.

Please note this information is provided by way of example and may not be complete and is certainly not intended to constitute legal advice. You should take bespoke advice for your circumstances.

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