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what will the EU Settlement Scheme look like under a no deal Brexit?

10 December 2018

The Department for Exiting the European Union published a policy paper last week on the implications of a no deal Brexit on the EU Settlement Scheme (the Scheme).

We are advised that the Government will still adopt an approach based on the Withdrawal Agreement and have committed to continue with the Scheme which is currently being piloted. The paper confirms that settlement will be granted on the same qualifying basis in the event of a no deal (i.e. focused on residency).

However, there will be some important changes to the Scheme; namely:

  • will only be open to EU citizens who are resident in the UK as at 29 March 2019 (instead of 31 December 2020)
  • the deadline for applying will be brought forward to 31 December 2020 (rather than 30 June 2021)
  • challenges to the refusal of status will be via administrative or judicial review, with no remit for ECJ involvement
  • a new UK immigration system applicable to EEA nationals, will be implemented from 1 January 2021 (details still to be confirmed)
  • in relation to dependents of EEA nationals, the paper confirms that EU citizens with settled status can be joined by close family members, until 29 March 2022, provided the relationship existed as at 29 March 2019 (or children born after this date) and continues to exist when the family member applies. After 29 March 2022, such family members will need to apply via the applicable immigration route in place at that time. Those dependents who form a relationship with an EEA national after exit, can join the EU citizen with settled status until 31 December 2020, after which the UK immigration Rules would apply to such a reunion
  • EU identity cards are to remain valid for travel until the new immigration system is introduced.

The timing of this paper comes during parliament’s debate of the proposed Withdrawal Agreement, amid growing concern and warnings about the implications of a no deal Brexit. We will keep you updated on any further developments.

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