"Deal" or "No-Deal" – How might the current uncertain political landscape in the UK affect the immigration position of EEA migrants?

Following the UK results of the EU Parliamentary Elections announced over the weekend, and Theresa May's resignation, the UK political landscape has shifted once again. What does this mean for employers of EEA migrants or those who want to employ EEA migrants in the future from an immigration perspective?

Given the success of the Brexit Party in the EU Parliamentary Elections and the different positions being taken by candidates for leadership of the Conservative Party, it seems that once again there is potential for a "No-Deal" Brexit. 

In addition, we may see Conservative Party leadership candidates putting forward new proposals about the position of EEA migrants – for example, Michael Gove has pledged free British citizenship for 3 million EU nationals after Brexit, should he become Prime Minister.

It is therefore important that employers remain up-to-date with the ever changing position on immigration post-Brexit. We will continue to keep employers updated as changes occur and can offer advice about what steps employers should be taking pre and post 31 October 2019. 

How might employers forward plan?

If employers are currently considering transferring EEA nationals to work in UK offices, it may be prudent to do so prior to 31 October 2019. 

This is because in a "No-Deal" scenario:

  • EEA nationals who resided in the UK before Brexit Day (currently 31 October 2019) will have until 31 December 2020 to apply for settled (or pre-settled) status under the EU Settlement Scheme;
  • Once free movement has ended on Brexit Day, EEA citizens will be able to work in the UK without a visa for an initial three month period and following this, will need to apply for European temporary leave to remain; and 
  • Those EEA nationals entering the UK after Brexit Day will not be able to make an application under the EU Settlement Scheme.  

In contrast, in a "Deal" scenario, EEA nationals will have until 31 December 2020 to enter the UK and until 30 June 2021 to make an application under the EU Settlement Scheme.