Companies with European Union (EU) citizen employees in the United Kingdom (UK) and/or with UK citizen employees in the EU need to be aware of the impact of the potential deal reached between the UK government and the EU, the EU Settlement Scheme.
If the EU Settlement Scheme is approved by the UK Parliament (set to take place by Dec 21, 2018), after the UK leaves the EU on March 29, 2019, then EU citizens residing in the UK and UK citizens residing in the EU would be able to continue to be residents in the UK or EU, respectively, without material impediment.
The approval or non-approval of the EU Settlement Scheme could result in varying scenarios.
Scenario One: EU Settlement Scheme Approved
For those EU citizens who entered the UK prior to Dec 31, 2020 (and have no serious criminal convictions), such persons would be eligible to obtain pre-/settled status. The EU Settlement Scheme is slated to become operational from March 30, 2019, and would likely give EU citizens (and their family members) a grace period to apply for pre-/settled status until June 30, 2021.
Scenario Two: EU Settlement Scheme Not Approved
If there is not a deal reached, EU citizens residing in the UK by March 29, 2019 would still have their rights fully protected by the UK government. For EU citizens, however, there would not be an implementation period and EU citizens would only have until Dec 2020 to complete an application.
Close Family Members of EU Citizens
Spouses and children of EU citizens with settled status can be joined in the UK until March 29, 2022, only if the relationship existed by March 29, 2019 (and continued to exist up to the time of application).
To join EU citizen family members after March 29, 2022, the spouses and children will need to apply under UK Immigration Rules.
Benefits and services will still be accessible for those EU citizens and family members lawfully residing in the UK by March 29, 2019.
EU Identity Cards & UK Entry
Although EU identity cards will remain valid after January 1, 2021, after the UK government introduces its new immigration system, it is uncertain that EU citizens will still be able to use their national ID cards for UK entry.
For further information on how this may affect your business, please consult with our attorneys. For more frequent updates, please follow us on Twitter (@GrahamAdairLaw).