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Home Office in the media

Media factsheet: EU citizens and freedom of movement

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Home Office in the media

This factsheet was updated on 1 November 2019.

After the United Kingdom has left the European Union, the Government will bring in new immigration arrangements.

The following factsheet sets out some of the main points and links to wider information where it is available.

What are the plans for a new immigration system and when will it come into force?

Prime Minister Boris Johnson has announced his intention to introduce a new points-based immigration system based on the skills of individuals rather than the country where they are from.

On 6 September 2019, the Home Secretary commissioned the Migration Advisory Committee (MAC) to consider a new points-based immigration system for introduction from January 2021. The MAC has also been commissioned to review the salary thresholds for the future immigration system. The MAC will continue with this work in addition to its work on the new points-based immigration system and report back to the Government by January 2020.

If there is a no deal will EU citizens be able to apply to the EU Settlement Scheme?

EU citizens resident in the UK before the UK leaves the EU will have until at least 31 December 2020 to apply to the EU Settlement Scheme in the event that the UK leaves the EU without a deal.

Until then, they can continue to take up employment and rent property as now by showing their passport or national identity card and their rights to claim benefits and access services in the UK will remain unchanged. Further information about the EU Settlement Scheme is available on GOV.UK.

Will employers be required to distinguish between EU citizens who move to the UK before or after Brexit?

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.

What happens if the Prime Minister’s Withdrawal Agreement is passed? Will free movement continue?

The new points-based immigration system will be introduced from January 2021. Until then, free movement rules will continue until the end of the Implementation Period of 31 December 2020 under the EU Withdrawal Agreement.

What happens in a no deal scenario? Will EU citizens still be able to come to the UK?

On 4 September 2019, Home Secretary Priti Patel announced that if there is a no deal, free movement will end as it currently stands. There will be changes to current free movement rules to reflect the UK’s departure from the EU. However, much of the free movement framework will be retained in UK law until Parliament passes legislation to repeal the Immigration (European Economic Area) Regulations 2016.

EU citizens will still be able to come to the UK to visit, work or study for a temporary period, as they do now. EU citizens and their close family members from non-EEA countries, who move to the UK after Brexit and wish to stay beyond 2020, will need to apply for a UK immigration status granting them permission to stay.

The Home Office will open a new immigration scheme – the European Temporary Leave to Remain (Euro TLR) Scheme – to provide a route to apply for this immigration status. Applications will involve a simple online process and identity, security and criminality checks.

Successful applicants to the Euro TLR scheme will be granted a period of 36 months’ leave to remain in the UK, running from the date the leave is granted. This will provide EU citizens who move to the UK after exit and their employers with greater confidence and certainty that they can remain in the UK after the end of 2020.

Will EU citizens be subject to a different criminality threshold than they are now?

EU citizens and their family members moving to the UK after a no deal Brexit will be subject to the UK conduct and criminality test rather than the EU public policy test.

The UK conduct and criminality test will also apply to the post-exit conduct of EU citizens and their family members living here before a no deal Brexit, or who have EU Settlement Scheme status, and to their pre-exit conduct where their post-exit conduct results in a sentence of imprisonment.

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