The Government has announced a new scheme that will apply to the employment of EU nationals immediately after the UK leaves the EU if it does so without securing a deal.
It had originally been thought that freedom of movement would end on Brexit date in a no-deal scenario, meaning that any EU national who wanted to come to the UK to work after Brexit would need to apply through a complicated points-based immigration system.
However, while free movement will technically end on 31st October 2019, much of the free movement framework will remain in place for a period.
Temporary Leave to Remain (TLR) scheme
Transitional arrangements mean that a Temporary Leave to Remain (TLR) scheme will allow EU nationals to move to the UK after Brexit to continue living, working and studying in the UK after 31st December 2020.
The TLR scheme also applies to people from EEA countries who are not part of the EU, and Swiss nationals.
Applications for TLR will be free and can be made once the scheme opens after the UK leaves the EU. TLR will be valid for 36 months from the date it is granted, and the deadline for such applications will be 30th December 2020.
Residence beyond January 2021
People who arrive in the UK after Brexit and wish to continue working in the UK from 1st January 2021 will need to qualify through a future immigration system, the details of which are not yet finalised.
EU nationals who were resident in the UK by 11pm on 31st October 2019 may use the EU Settlement Scheme to obtain settled status, provided they have at least five years’ residency in the UK, which allows them to remain in the UK indefinitely.
People with less than five years’ residency will be able to apply for pre-settled status, which allows them to remain in the UK until they attain the required length of residency and then be able to apply for settled status.
Who needs to take action?
Employers will not be required to distinguish between EU nationals who moved to the UK on or before 31st October 2019 and those who arrived afterwards.
EU nationals will be able to provide evidence of their right to work using either their passport, their national identity card, their digital status under the EU Settlement Scheme, or the Euro TLR scheme until the new points-based system is introduced from January 2021.