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Government announces provisions for EU citizens in event of no-deal Brexit

29 January 2019 Written by Paul John & Co Solicitors Category: Immigration Services

In the event of a no-deal Brexit, Home Secretary, Sajid Javid, announced that EU citizens who arrive in the UK after the 29th March 2019 will have to obtain visas in order to stay longer than three months.

During the transitional period, EEA citizens and their family members will still be able to come to the UK for visits, study or work for up to three months as they can do now.

European Temporary Leave to Remain

In a move designed to end free movement ‘once and for all’ and to give the UK control of its borders ‘for the first time in decades’, Mr Javid explained that EU citizens arriving after March would have to apply for a status known as European Temporary Leave to Remain. To obtain the status, the citizens must pass identity, criminality and security checks, and, if successful, would be entitled to stay for a further three years.

Those wishing to stay longer than three years will have to apply under the new skills-based future immigration system. This system is said to scrap the cap on migrants who are classed as skilled while placing tougher restrictions on low-skilled workers.

High-skilled workers

There is currently a cap of 20,700 on high-skilled workers who arrive in the UK on Tier 2 visas. The removal of the cap under the new system should lift pressure on the NHS, which in the past has had to turn away doctors and other skilled healthcare employees due to the cap already having been reached. The government is also consulting on a minimum salary requirement of £30,000 for skilled migrants who are seeking a five-year visa.

Low-skilled workers

The new immigration system for workers classed as low-skilled, however, will be far stricter. Those wishing to move to Britain will be required to pay a substantial fee for a visa which will only last one year. Upon its expiry, they will be required to leave the UK in order to reapply for another visa. There has been no suggestion of a formal route to permanent citizenship for low-skilled migrants. 

Mr Javid, however, went on to assure those who currently live in the UK that the new policy would not apply to them:

“Let me be clear. This policy does not apply to those here before exit day, whose rights to live and work will be protected by the EU Settlement Scheme. We want them to stay and value them hugely.”

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