Priti Patel’s questionable plans to end free movement was finally scrapped when the government announced (again) yesterday that the European Temporary leave to Remain will be implemented in the event of a no-deal Brexit.
As mentioned in our previous post, it would have been somewhat draconian to end free movement in the event of a no-deal on 31 October 2019, without a robust replacement system in place.
The European Temporary Leave to Remain will enable EU nationals to enter the UK after Brexit i.e. 31 October 2019 in the event of a no-deal situation. They will be granted 3 years temporary leave to remain in the UK. Thereafter, when the new immigration system is introduced in 2021, those EU citizens would be able to switch to an alternative visa category. The rights of EU nationals will be broadly the same as they are now, apart from the obvious fact that their status will be temporary.
The government has stated that they aim to make the application as simple as possible; there will be an online application, where one has to verify their identity and undergo a security and criminal record check. Similar to the EU Settlement Scheme, applicants will receive a digital status which will act as their proof of right to reside and work in the UK. Despite previously stating there will be an application fee, the recent Home Office update confirms the application will be free.
Further to this, family members of EU citizens will also be able to apply for European Leave to Remain. Family members will only include close family members such as spouses, partners and dependent children under 18. The relevant EU citizen would have to apply first and once they receive their status, their family member would be able to apply.
Nonetheless, the government is still adamant to pursue their hard-line approach. For example, after Brexit day, the EU blue customs channel will be removed, and all EU citizens will have to enter the red or green channels. With the clock ticking, it is anticipated that other major changes will soon be revealed.