Global Alerts

United Kingdom – Citizens’ Rights Under the Withdrawal Agreement Versus a No-Deal Scenario

On November 14, 2018, the United Kingdom (UK) government reached an agreement with the European Union (EU) on the UK’s withdrawal from the EU. The deal, which still needs to be ratified by both the UK and European parliaments, includes arrangements about the legal status of EU citizens in the UK post Brexit.

On December 6, 2018 the Department for Exiting the European Union (DExEU) published a policy paper outlining the UK government’s proposals for protecting citizens’ rights in case the UK leaves the EU without an agreed and ratified withdrawal deal.

Deadlines

In a no-deal situation, with no transition period to the end of 2020 (extendable to 2022) the cut-off dates for applying special rules for EU citizens would be brought forward:

  • Enter UK to qualify for EU Settlement Scheme
    • Withdrawal Agreement: December 31, 2020
    • No Deal: April 29, 2019
  • Apply under EU Settlement Scheme
    • Withdrawal Agreement: June 30, 2021
    • No Deal: December 31, 2020
  • Family members can join those with settled status
    • Withdrawal Agreement: No deadline
    • No Deal: March 29, 2022
  • Family relationship must start
    • Withdrawal Agreement: December 31, 2020
    • No Deal: March 29, 2019
  • Higher EU deportation threshold applies to crimes committed
    • Withdrawal Agreement: December 31, 2020
    • No Deal: March 29, 2019

Other differences in the case of no deal include:

  • The Court of Justice of the EU (CJEU) would not have jurisdiction as regards EU27 citizens in the UK (under the withdrawal agreement it would have residual jurisdiction for eight years after the end of the transition period.
  • EU citizens would have no right to an appeal to an immigration judge.

The UK government admits that it cannot unilaterally affect the position of UK nationals resident in the EU after Brexit, but the paper includes some guarantees to uphold their rights on returning to the UK, among other tentative proposals.

Actions Items

Employers who may be affected by Brexit are encouraged to contact their immigration specialist for case-specific advice.

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