The Government has published updated guidance on arrangements for EEA and Swiss citizens coming to the UK to visit, study, work or join family in the event of a 'no deal' Brexit.

If the UK leaves the EU without a Brexit deal, EEA and Swiss citizens will be able to enter the UK as they do currently.

With free movement due to end however and the UK’s new skills-based immigration system not due to begin until 2021, EU, EEA and Swiss citizens who arrive in the UK after it leaves the EU will need to apply for European Temporary Leave to Remain to stay in the UK for longer than 3 months.

Rights and status

European Temporary Leave to Remain will allow EEA and Swiss citizens arriving in the UK after 29 March 2019 to live, work and study in the UK. The important elements are:

  • EEA and Swiss citizens who are granted European Temporary Leave to Remain will be able to stay in the UK for 36 months from the date it is granted
  • It is a temporary measure that cannot be extended
  • It will not give EEA and Swiss citizens indefinite leave to remain (ILR) nor will it lead to status under the EU Settlement Scheme
  • EEA and Swiss citizens wanting to stay in the UK for more than 36 months will need to apply for an immigration status under the new immigration system, which will be in place from 1 January 2021
  • Individuals who do not qualify under the new immigration system will need to leave the UK when their European Temporary Leave to Remain expires.

How to Apply?

  • Your prospective employees must make an online application within 3 months of arriving in the UK
  • Applicants will need to be able to prove their identity and must declare any criminal within that application.

EU Settlement Scheme

EEA or Swiss citizens who enter the UK before the UK leaves the EU - and who want to continue living in the UK after Brexit - can apply to the existing EU Settlement Scheme. EEA or Swiss citizens and their families will be able to remain in the UK indefinitely if they are granted settled status under the EU Settlement Scheme.

Employees may also be able to apply to the EU Settlement Scheme if they return to the UK after Brexit and were previously living in the UK before 29 March 2019.