Photo Credit – Wikimedia Commons
Brexit has been a word that has haunted the UK for the last three or so years and there is no doubt it has caused a lot of stress and uncertainty for EU nationals living in the UK and for UK nationals living in Europe. Moreover, developments that occurred just yesterday in the UK i.e. the election date of Boris Johnson as the new Prime Minister, who supports a No Deal Brexit, does not change current policies that were put in place by Theresa May to accommodate EU nationals in the lead up to the U.K.’s departure from the EU.
Britain’s relationship with Europe regardless of what happens with Brexit will continue on a number of different levels, including cooperation on international affairs, human rights protection, and also with trade (even though the terms for this at the moment are not clear). Moreover, acts of diplomacy coming out of Brussels yesterday, such as when the new EU Commission President Ursula von der Leyen congratulated Mr Johnson on his victory, show that the EU is very much willing to engage with him but it is unlikely that a new deal will take shape, i.e. one different to that created between former UK Prime Minister, Theresa May and former European Commission President Jean Claude Junker.
Can Boris actually achieve a No Deal?
Boris Johnson is no stranger to European decision-makers in Brussels and the idea of a No Deal Brexit that he has promoted since the result of the June 2016 referendum resembles his willingness to side with the right-wing of the Conservative party in delivering Britain’s exit from the EU. However one must remember that currently, he does not have the numbers in the UK Parliament to deliver a No Deal Brexit, so this outcome still is unlikely but not impossible.
Furthermore, due to the fact that elections have just occurred in Brussels in the European Parliament alongside the inauguration of a brand new European Commission cabinet pose difficulties to any serious changes taking place in the next couple of months to the deal that has already been put forward by by the EU Commission and Theresa May.
What does this all mean for EU nationals in the UK?
For now, there are no changes to the current framework of registering EU nationals in the UK that was set out under Theresa May. The EU Settlement Scheme is still very relevant and EU nationals who live in the UK should register through this scheme to secure their immigration status if they wish to stay in the UK.
The current rules are as follows. Boris Johnson has stated that the UK will leave the EU with or without a deal on October 31st 2019. If the UK leaves with a deal, then the deadline for EU nationals to register through the EU Settlement Scheme is 30th June 2021. However, if the UK leaves the EU without a deal, then the deadline to apply through the EU Settlement Scheme will be 31st December 2020.
Those EU or EFTA nationals, (EFTA meaning those from countries such as Switzerland, Iceland, Lichtenstein and Norway) who have been in the UK for five years or more can apply through the EU Settlement Scheme for Settled Status which means that they will recieve the immigration status of an ordinary resident in the UK with no restrictions to your stay in the country.
Those EU or EFTA nationals who however have been in the UK for less than five years or will arrive there before 31st December 2020 can apply for pre-settled status which will allow them to stay in the UK until they have reached the five-year mark, which will then allow them to apply for settled status.
Who does not need to apply?
Those EU or EFTA nationals who are already British Citizens do not need to apply under the EU Settlement Scheme, i.e. those who have permanent residence under UK immigration rules such as through a result of marriage to a British citizen or under the 10-year lawful residence route under section 276B of the immigration rules.
Also, Irish citizens do not have to apply under the scheme.
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