Deal or No Deal, Brexit or No Brexit…these are some of the questions that MP’s have been debating and amending, whilst public and businesses await to know exactly what is happening? We cannot escape it, as it surrounds us and is now becoming the question instead of how the weather is?

Over the past few weeks the risk of a No Deal has increased. But what does that mean if you are an EU National? Let’s look at this from different positions.

Been in the UK before Brexit Day

For EU citizens already living here by Brexit Day, that should not be a major problem. The government has said that it will still operate the EU Settlement Scheme, which allows existing residents to apply to stay in the UK after Brexit, whether or not there is a deal. In simple terms, they will be able to continue to live, study and work in the UK. The only thing that changes is to apply for either settled or pre-settled status. The system launches on 30th March

Arriving in the UK after Brexit Day

In a No Deal, Free Movement will come to an end as soon as the we leave the EU on Brexit Day. Any new arrivals (and not those who have been living in the UK and are returning after visiting abroad) will be able to remain in the UK for up to 3 months. Should they wish to stay longer, they would have to apply for a European Temporary Leave to Remain visa. This will mean that there is a possibility of a refusal despite the application process only involving “identity, criminality and security checks”.

The key issue is that there will be no way of identifying or distinguishing between a new arrival and a long standing resident who has not yet applied for settled status. This causes substantial barriers for employers who have to check the immigration status of their employees. This causes a risk in that employers may take someone on who claims that they are a long term resident when in fact they arrived after Brexit Day and has not applied for European Temporary Leave to Remain visa. The Home Office says that they will not ask employers to distinguish until after 2021, however in legal reality, immigration status checks are a requirement of various Acts of Parliament. Therefore the Home Office cannot ignore this. This will cause problems for employers as they will face risks of employing a person illegally and therefore a potential fine of up to £20,000 per illegal worker. At this stage we will have to wait and see.

For further help or advice, please contact Head of Immigration Arif Khalfe on 01904 561402 who can guide employers and individuals through the complex immigration changes. Unlike a lot of firms, Arif offers competitive fixed fees depending on your requirements.

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