1.1 Has any guidance already been issued in relation to Brexit, for example on residence or work permits in the event of a no-deal Brexit?
Please note that the information in this survey does not apply to Irish nationals, who are considered to be settled in the UK.
EU Settlement Scheme
EEA/Swiss citizens must apply under the EU Settlement Scheme for settled or pre-settled status if they are resident in the UK by 31 December 2020 if a deal is agreed, or by the date of exit if there is no deal. This includes frontier workers who are resident in the UK by the relevant dates. Existing family members of frontier workers may also apply if they are resident in the UK by the relevant dates, as long as the frontier worker is either eligible under the scheme, or they began working in the UK as a frontier worker before the relevant dates and continues to do so.
To qualify for settled status, a period of five years’ continuous residence in the UK will normally be required. Pre-settled status is granted for five years and a further application for settled status should be made once five years’ residence is reached, and before the pre-settled status expires.
For those already residing in the UK, an initial application must be made under the scheme by 30 June 2021 if a deal is agreed, or by 31 December 2020 if there is no deal.
Family members residing outside the UK will be able to apply to join a EEA/Swiss citizen who has status under the scheme at any point in the future, provided a deal is agreed and their relationship with the EEA/Swiss citizen exists by 31 December 2020. If there is no deal, the relationship with an EU citizen must be ongoing, must have existed by the date of exit and an application must be made by 29 March 2022. The family members of citizens of Norway, Iceland, Liechtenstein and Switzerland will have no application deadline. There is also an exception for children born abroad, who may apply at any time after their birth.
Arrivals after a no-deal Brexit
If there is no deal, freedom of movement will continue until 31 December 2020. The non-EU family members of EEA/Swiss citizens (spouse/partner and children under 18) will have to apply for a family permit before travelling. EEA/Swiss citizens and their family members may apply for European Temporary Leave to Remain (‘Euro TLR’) on a voluntary basis. This will be a free online application and will be subject to criminality checks. Euro TLR will be valid for 36 months from the date of grant and will allow work and study but cannot be extended. Time spent holding Euro TLR will count towards the qualifying period for settlement under any of the categories leading to settlement under the post-Brexit immigration system. Individuals who anticipate qualifying for such a category may wish to apply for Euro TLR as early as possible, whereas those who do not may wish to defer their application in order to maximise the total length of time they are permitted to stay in the UK.
Post-Brexit immigration system
The Government is planning to implement a post-Brexit immigration system from 1 January 2021. EEA/Swiss citizens and their family members who wish to live in the UK on or after this date will need to apply under the new system if they are not eligible under the EU Settlement Scheme.