It’s now countdown to Brexit, with less than one year to go before it becomes a harsh reality to millions of EU nationals living in the UK and to UK nationals living in EEA member states.
Following on from the withdrawal agreement in principle between the UK and the EU back in December 2017, a draft withdrawal agreement was reached between the parties in March 2018.
Both the EU and the UK keep reiterating that there will be no final agreement until everything has been agreed, so the possibility of a cliff-edge ending is still a stark reality.
The draft withdrawal agreement does, however, for the first time provide us with a comprehensive plan of what nationals can expect post Brexit. The key features are as follows;
Transition Period – This has been agreed as between 30 March 2019 and 31 December 2020
Cut off Period For Free Movement -This has moved to 31 December 2020. (EU nationals may still remain after that date depending on the terms of the final withdrawal agreement.)
New Status Document – All EU citizens who wish to remain in the UK post 31 December 2020 MUST apply for a new status document. The deadline for doing this is 30 June 2021.
Family Members of EU Nationals – If the relationship has existed before the end of the transition period then they can join their EU family member in the UK. Family members are defined as, Spouse/civil partner, durable partner, children under 21 and dependant direct relatives in the ascending line.
EU Nationals Coming To The UK After Transition Period – These individuals will have to apply under the new regime which has not been decided by the Home Office.
Refusal/resubmission of applications– prior to 31 December 2020 EU nationals can resubmit applications for settled/temporary status if their application is refused. However, applications refused post 01 January 2021 can only be appealed
The interesting thing to note is that the new “settled status” is different from the automatic right to permanent residence which presently exists under Rule 15 of the EEA Regulations. The criteria for such settled status may also change. I would assume that all EU nationals would have to apply for this status document even if they already hold a permanent residence document.
Also, an additional six month period after the end of the transition period has been allowed for those who wish to apply for a settled status document.
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