Brexit and immigration: update

Arif Khalfe, partner and immigration specialist at Lupton Fawcett.
Arif Khalfe, partner and immigration specialist at Lupton Fawcett.

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On March 29, 2019, we are leaving The EU. One of the biggest problems that needs to be resolved is immigration.

Currently there are an estimated 3.7 million people living in the UK who are citizens of another EU country. The Office of National Statistics recently released interesting figures which said that the number of EU citizens who are coming to the UK to live is falling.

The reduced number of European immigrants in the year to September 2017 is an estimated 18 per cent fewer than the year before. In addition, the amount of people leaving the UK has increased by 27 per cent year on year. The difference between those leaving the UK and entering the UK is now back at the level it was in 2012 – around 90,000 people.

So what is the latest position on Brexit and immigration?

Well, in March, both the UK and the EU announced that they had reached an agreement on what is to happen in the period after Brexit.

In December last year, an agreement on Citizens’ Rights was reached and now has been drafted in Treaty text in order to be written into law. The Citizens’ Rights agreement means that if you are an EU citizen living in the UK before March 29, 2019 you will be able to continue to live and work in the UK. All rights in relation to work arrangements and access to benefits, including healthcare, will continue. In addition, existing close family members who are not living in the UK will be able to join in the same way as they can now.

So what about Settled Status?

To be eligible for settled status, an EU citizen will need to meet certain requirements. One in particular is residence in the UK for at least five years. They won’t become a British National but will have permanent status in the UK

A new scheme is being introduced which will enable EU citizens or their family members already in living in the UK to apply for settled status. This scheme will be open until June 30, 2021. No other details have been released yet

So what’s this about a transition period?

Over the past few weeks there has been talk about a transition period. The agreement that has been reached is for the Citizens’ Rights to include EU citizens and their family members arriving in the UK during the period of March 30, 2019 to December 31, 2020. However, during this time, the new arrivals will need to register through a new registration scheme after three months of arriving in the UK.

It seems that a framework for immigration to the UK from the EU has been established, if only by verbal agreement up to the year 2021. As for what happens afterwards we will have to wait and see.

For further help or advice, please contact Lupton Fawcett’s Immigration specialists Arif Khalfe on 01904 561402 or arif.khalfe@luptonfawcett.law