Friday 13 September 2019

No Deal Brexit

It’s increasingly clear that a no deal Brexit will impact on all of us. That said, the concerns of UNISON members who aren’t UK citizens are probably more urgent than others. Here is a brief summary of what is proposed for immigration rules in the event of No Deal:

  • The UK Government has announced the immigration arrangements they will apply to EU citizens and their family members moving to the UK after Brexit on 31 October 2019, if the UK leaves the EU without a deal.
  •  The Government intend that after Brexit, EU citizens will still be able to come for visits or short trips.  They will also be able to apply for a 36-month temporary immigration status if they wish to stay beyond 31 December 2020. This will be known as - European Temporary Leave to Remain (Euro TLR). It will be free of charge and open until 31 December 2020. 
  • It is important to note the Euro TLR arrangements do not apply to those EU citizens who are resident here before 23:00 hours on 31 October 2019 and their family members. The Government has been clear that we want them to stay and they are eligible to apply to the EU Settlement Scheme to obtain a UK immigration status which will enable them to do so.
  • Resident EU citizens have until at least 31 December 2020 to apply to the EU Settlement Scheme, if the UK leaves the EU without a deal.( Around  1.5 million people have now applied to the EU Settlement Scheme, according to internal figures.)
  • There will be visible changes at the UK border, and tougher rules for criminals, otherwise though - on 1 November 2019 EU citizens will be able to cross the UK border as now.
  • EU citizens who successfully apply to the Euro TLR will be granted a temporary immigration status valid for 36 months.  They will be able to sponsor close family members – a spouse or partner, and dependent children under 18.


 The Government has  commissioned the independent Migration Advisory Committee to review the benefits of a future points-based immigration system, to be introduced from January 2021, and what best practice can be learnt from other international comparators including the Australian immigration system.

 Once the future immigration system opens at the start of 2021, anyone without Euro TLR or another UK immigration status will have to qualify to stay in the UK under the provisions in the future immigration system or leave the UK.  The Government say those who hold Euro TLR status will have more time to transition into the future system and will not need to apply until their temporary leave expires. Euro TLR holders who transition into a route leading to settlement (indefinite leave to remain) will be able to count time on Euro TLR towards the qualifying residence period for settlement. 

Employers, landlords and other third parties will not be required to distinguish between EU citizens who moved to the UK before or after Brexit until the new, points-based immigration system is introduced from January 2021. EU citizens will be able to prove their rights to take up employment and rent property, as now, by using a passport or national identity card.

These arrangements also apply to citizens of Iceland, Liechtenstein, Norway and Switzerland. Irish citizens will continue to be able to enter, live and work in the UK without requiring permission.
 The Government also intend to legislate remove the rights for post-exit arrivals to acquire permanent residence.

Oh – and we’ll be getting Blue Passports from the start of next year.

UNISON has and will continue to oppose a no deal Brexit. But regardless of what happens – and whatever colour of passport we end up with – UNISON’s priority will remain  the wellbeing of our members and the public services they provide.

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