The recently issued paper provides a commitment that the UK government will continue to run the EU Settlement Scheme only for EU nationals who live in the United Kingdom by 29 March 2019.
Under the terms of the draft Withdrawal Agreement, the EU Settlement Scheme launched in August 2018 for EU citizens currently living in the United Kingdom to obtain settled status (if they have lived in the United Kingdom for more than five years) or pre-settled status (if they have lived in the United Kingdom for less than five years). The EU Settlement Scheme now forms part of the UK Immigration Rules and is expected to be fully operational and open to all EU citizens by 30 March 2019.
If the Withdrawal Agreement is implemented in full, EU citizens—including those arriving after 29 March 2019 during a transition period, which would run from 30 March 2019 until 31 December 2020—will have until 30 June 2021 to make an application under the EU Settlement Scheme.
The UK government has recently published a policy paper giving a commitment that, in the event that the Withdrawal Agreement is not finalized and there is a no-deal Brexit scenario, the United Kingdom will continue to run the EU Settlement Scheme only for those EU nationals who are resident in the United Kingdom by 29 March 2019. Those EU citizens and their family members would have until 31 December 2020 to apply for a status under the EU Settlement Scheme (as opposed to the deadline of 30 June 2021 proposed in the draft Withdrawal Agreement).
The UK government has also given a commitment that, in the event of a no-deal Brexit, EU citizens with settled status would be able to be joined in the United Kingdom, before 29 March 2022, by family members living overseas, where the relationship existed before 29 March 2019 and continues to exist. After 29 March 2022, such family members will be able to join EU citizens in the United Kingdom by applying through the applicable UK Immigration Rules. EU citizens with settled status will be able to be joined by future spouses and partners and other dependent relatives until 31 December 2020, after which point the UK Immigration Rules would apply.
It is still possible to make applications under the current European Economic Area (EEA) Regulations, and Morgan Lewis has recently received confirmation from the Home Office that, subject to the Withdrawal Agreement being implemented, the EEA Regulations will continue to apply until the end of the planned transition period (at the end of December 2020).
The full policy paper can be found here.
If you have any questions or would like more information on the issues discussed in this Immigration Alert, please contact any of the following Morgan Lewis lawyers: