In a November Workplace Law article we highlighted the continued uncertainty of the position of the three-to-four million EU nationals residing in the UK, and the employers that employ them, in the event of a no-deal Brexit.
On 6 December 2018, the Government published a policy paper on EU citizens’ rights, and provided further information on the status of EU workers after 29 March 2019 if no formal agreement between the UK and the EU had been imposed.
We can only imagine that Workplace Law has a solid readership within the halls of Parliament and the Civil Service, who have taken our articles on board.
Who would be able to apply for settled status under a no-deal Brexit?
Any EU citizen living in the UK by 29 March 2019 (and not 31 December 2020 as in the “deal” scenario) would be eligible to apply to the EU Settlement Scheme. This is because there would be no implementation period under a ‘no-deal’ scenario.
The deadline for application to this scheme would be 31 December 2020 (not 30 June 2021 as in the “deal scenario). This is because there would be no grace period. EU citizens could rely on their national ID card or passport to show their right to reside up until this deadline (including when needed for applying to a job).
Could EU citizens be joined in the UK under a no deal Brexit?
EU citizens with settled status under the scheme could be joined by existing close family members (children, spouses, partners, parents, and grandparents) until 29 March 2022. The relationship must have existed by 29 March 2019, continued to exist when that family member applied, and close family members must have been living overseas on 29 March 2019.
To what extent could an EU citizen leave the UK without losing their right to return?
The UK would continue to honour the right of those who obtain settled status under the scheme to be able to leave the country for up to 5 consecutive years without losing their right to return.
What else does the paper cover?
The Government also spend much of the paper seeking to protect the rights of UK nationals in the EU in the event of a ‘no-deal’, and expresses that the Withdrawal Agreement ‘is the only way the UK government can guarantee the rights of the one million UK nationals living in the EU”
The Government has been keen to guarantee residence rights of EU citizens in the policy paper, indicating: “We have been clear. EU citizens are our friends, our neighbours, our colleagues, and we want them to stay.” The paper has already received criticism, however, for “watering down” EU rights in the event of a no-deal Brexit.
These are turbulent times. As evidenced by this update, new Brexit developments are occurring continuously, and it is difficult for employers to keep on top of developments.
If you have any concerns about the circumstances involving the EU nationals in your business, please do not hesitate to contact a member of the Employment team.
For the full policy paper, please visit the following link: Citizens’ Rights - EU citizens in the UK and UK nationals in the EU