Brexit News | September 18, 2018

Brexit, EU nationals and no deal

The first applications from EU nationals wanting to stay in the UK after Brexit were submitted to the Home Office on 28th August.  The date marks the start of the private beta-testing stage of the new settlement scheme for EU nationals, initially open only to university students in Liverpool and NHS workers in the North-West of England.

This testing stage offers the Home Office the opportunity to consider if any adjustments are needed to the process, which Ministers have insisted will be simple with minimal paperwork.  Following completion of the testing stage, the plan is to open up the settlement scheme to other EU nationals living in the UK on a phased basis from later this year to be fully opened by 30 March 2019.

However, the roll out of the scheme has been rather overshadowed in recent weeks by increasing discussion of the possibility of a no-deal Brexit.  On 23 August the government published the first of its 80 technical notices setting out information on the impact of a no deal scenario designed to allow businesses and individuals to plan and prepare.

At the time of writing the technical notice regarding EU nationals living in the UK has not been published.  However, there have been press reports of a leaked Cabinet Office paper appearing to confirm that EU nationals living in the UK will be given the right to stay in the event of a no-deal Brexit.

The leaked cabinet paper reportedly states that the Home Office offer is  “not only important to provide certainty publicly, but will enable the UK government to take the moral high ground.”

Whilst refusing to publicly guarantee the rights of EU nationals living in the UK, Brexit Secretary Dominic Raab is quoted as saying that it would be “inconceivable” that EU nationals would be asked to leave the UK regardless of the outcome of the Brexit negotiations.

Meanwhile citizens of EEA countries Norway, Iceland, Liechtenstein and of Switzerland living in the UK continue to wait for the outcome of discussions about their status in the UK after Brexit not currently covered by the Withdrawal Agreement or the settlement scheme.

For further information please contact Julia Jackson.