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The U.K Left the EU at 11 pm GMT on 31st January 2020. Brexit has thus taken place.
The transitional period and what this means
Under the Withdrawal Agreement, there is a transitional provision until the end of 31st December 2020 for a trade agreement to be put in place, governing the relationship in matters of trade between the UK and the rest of the EU. If no agreement is reached, then the UK will have left the EU without a deal and will look to WTO regulation with other countries to carry out trade.
The EU Settlement Scheme, a creature of Brexit, is now enshrined into our immigration laws, and requires EU nationals (who previously under the EU free movement regulations, could live and work in the UK without the need for permission), to register their details with the immigration authority and obtain official permission to remain here. This may be an insult to many EU nationals who never had to take this course of action for 47 years since the UK joined the EU on 1st January 1973, following the European Communities Act 1973.
So what will EU nationals have to do?
EU nationals, including Swiss nationals and their dependents, need to apply for pre-settled or settled status in the UK by 30th June 2021, but they need to have arrived here by 31st December 2020. Very close relatives who may not be able to be here by 30th December will be able to enter by 30th June 2021.
If EU nationals and or their dependents do not enter the UK by the times stated and do not apply for pre-settled or settled status by 30th June, or by a time stipulated by the government if coming here as a close family member by 30th June 2021, they will need visas to enter the UK like any other non-EU foreign visa national, and those already here who have failed to register will remain here unlawfully, and may, as a result, face immigration difficulties.
Pre- settled status and settled status
Those who are in the UK for less than 5 years will apply for pre-settled status. Once here for 5 years, they can switch to settled status. Those who have already been here for 5 years, can apply for settled status. If anyone has an EU residence document or a permanent residence document under the pre – Brexit EU free movement regulations, they will still, unfortunately, have to apply for either pre-settled or settled status. If anyone has permanent residence however under the UK immigration rules or is an Irish national, they do not have to make an application under the EU settlement scheme.
What if the application is refused?
There is a right of appeal for anyone who has been refused a status or who had been given the wrong status, for example, pre-settled status when they should have been granted settled status. The appeal is to the immigration tribunal. There would be an appeal fee, however.
Alternatively, administrative review or judicial review of the decision is available.
It is also always possible to reapply free of charge for pre-settled or settled status, instead of to appeal to the tribunal when a fee would be incurred and it would take several months for the appeal to come up for hearing.
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