Are EU citizens secure in the event of No Deal Brexit?

The London city law firm of Hudson McKenzie outlines immigration plans for EU citizens should there be a no-deal Brexit. What are the main points?

No Deal Brexit graphic
The UK has announced the immigration arrangements for EU citizens in the event of a No Deal Brexit. The main points are outlined below.

EU/EEA and Swiss citizens residing in the UK before 31 October 2019 (11 pm):

  • will retain their rights to settlement and access to services as they currently have. They will need to apply for either Settled or Pre-Settled status under the EU settlement scheme by 31 December 2020.
  • EU/EEA or Swiss citizens and their families will be able to remain in the UK indefinitely if they are granted settled status under the scheme.

EU/EEA and Swiss citizens arriving to the UK after 31 October 2019 (11 pm):

  • will be able to enter the UK as they currently do, there is no need to obtain permission prior to travel.
  • once in the UK and if planning to stay in the UK beyond 31 December 2020, EU/EEA and Swiss citizens will either need to:
    • register for European Temporary Leave to Remain (Euro LTR) when this route opens after Brexit. There is no obligation to register if leaving the UK before 31 December 2020 but the application will be a simple online process with ID, security and criminal checks. Successful applicants will be granted 36 months leave from the day of grant; or
    • submit an application for leave to remain under the new immigration system before 31 December 2020.
    • You will not be eligible if you are a serious or persistent criminal or a threat to national security.

EU/EEA citizens travelling to the UK after Brexit

  • no immediate changes to border crossing.
  • will be able to use passports or ID cards, however, the use of ID cards will be phased out in 2020.
  • will be able to use e-gates if they have a biometric passport.

Non-EU/EEA family members of EU/EEA citizens

Spouses/Civil partners/Unmarried partners/Children under age of 18 and Dependant relatives will be able to join the EU/EEA citizen in the UK and stay until 31 December 2020 and apply for Euro LTR in the same way as EU/EEA citizens.

Irish nationals

  • do not need to apply to stay in the UK, including after 31 December 2020, meaning they can continue to enter, live and work in the UK without permission.
  • family members joining them after Brexit will be able to apply for Euro LTR, however, if no application is made by 31 December 2020, they will need to apply under the new immigration system if they wish to remain in the UK after 31 December 2020.

UK nationals and close family members

  • if they moved to the EU before Brexit, they will be able to use EU law to bring close family members with them to the UK under Surinder Singh rights until 29 March 2022.
  • if they move to the EU after Brexit, they will no longer be able to use Surinder Singh rights and close family members returning with them to the UK will need to meet UK immigration rules.

Right-to-work checks

  • Employers can continue to accept EU/EEA passports or ID cards until 31 December 2020.
  • EU/EEA or Swiss citizens can choose to provide digital evidence of Euro LTR.
  • Employers will not need to distinguish between EU/EEA citizens who moved to the UK before or after Brexit and will not need to do Right to work checks after 1 January 2021.
  • From 1 January 2021 EU/EEA nationals will no longer be able to rely on their EU passport or ID card and will need to provide employers with their immigration status in the UK.
This information was provided by the law firm of Hudson McKenzie. Hudson McKenzie is a city law firm with the personal approach, responsiveness and creativity of a boutique practice. It is recognised for its expertise by various legal directories including The Legal 500. Should you wish to discuss anything in relation to the above update, please get in touch with one of their UK Immigration Lawyers on 020 3318 5794 or via email at .

For more news and views, visit our dedicated Brexit or Immigration section.

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