European Union migrants were thrown into panic the week of the 19th August 2019 when Downing Street announced unexpectedly that freedom of movement would end on 31st October 2019, if Britain leaves the bloc without a deal.
Few details were given regarding the announcement. EU nationals would still be able to come for holiday in the UK, but no comment was made about the facilitation for longer term stays for those wanting to work and study.
To add further confusion the Home Office confirmed there would be no change in the December 2020 deadline for EU nationals to apply for Settled Status, the legal mechanism allowing those already resident to continue living and working in Britain after Brexit.
For freedom of movement to end in just over two months, legislation would have to be in place regarding landlords and letting agents increased responsibilities regarding Right to Rent checks and employers Right to Work checks.
However, Oxford University’s Migration Observatory said employers will have no way to tell whether EU nationals have arrived after 31 October 2019. There are currently no systems in place to track EU nationals’ arrivals as they do not have to register with the Home Office.
Madeleine Sumption, director of the Migration Observatory, told the BBC:
Even if the government knew exactly what it wanted the post-Brexit immigration system to look like, it wouldn’t be possible to implement it immediately after a no-deal Brexit.
“Even if the government knew exactly what it wanted the post-Brexit immigration system to look like, it wouldn’t be possible to implement it immediately after a no-deal Brexit.
“That’s because any new restrictions on EU migration can’t be enforced unless UK employers know which EU citizens have been here for years and which ones arrived post-Brexit and have to comply with the new immigration regime.”
The only way of examining EU migrants currently in the UK is through the Settled Status scheme. This scheme closes in 2020 and there is no mandatory obligation for EU nationals to take part.
Businesses have vented their fury at the government’s latest statement. Many are struggling to fill roles as EU migration dips to its lowest levels since 2013 (although the Office of National Statistics Data is disputed).
Tej Parikh, chief economist at the Institute of Directors, told the Financial Times:
“Slamming the door shut as the UK leaves the EU will only exacerbate skill shortages. With many businesses deeply concerned about the disruption of a no-deal Brexit, the announcement on ending freedom of movement — with little clarity on alternate arrangements — will only add to the confusion many firms are experiencing.”
We will have an in-depth blog on this matter published next week, which will encapsulate the latest developments on this story.
A Y & J Solicitors are specialists in immigration law based in central London. If you would like to have more information on applying for Settled Status, please contact us at [email protected] or call +44 20 7404 7933.
Disclaimer: No material/information provided on this website should be construed as legal advice. Readers should seek an appropriate professional advice for their immigration matters.