It has been a long time since the United Kingdom voted in a public referendum to leave the European Union in 2016 where the majority of the Brits favoured Britain Leaving the EU. Brexit befell with uncertain implications which the government faced with great courage. 5 years elapsed since the vote in 2016 and the impact of departure is at its height at present.
Withdrawal entailed disruption of United Kingdom/EU founding 4 pillars principles; free movement of – people – services – capital and goods. The objective of this article is to explore the end of the free movement of people rights.
Fact Number 1: 31 December 2020 at 23:00 hours marked the end of a transition period with the EU which meant that the EU citizens who arrived after the deadline, could no longer avail the existing rights enshrined in the European Regulations.
Fact Number 2: UK implemented the system to account for all EU citizens present in the United Kingdom by the streamlined application process called the European settlement scheme. To give due credit to the British government, registration of individuals on such a scale in a limited time arguably has not taken place elsewhere in the world. The System opened in 2019 as a pilot scheme and soon rolled out fully to include all relevant individuals, including non-EU family members of the European Nationals.
Fact Number 3: Since the date of the deadline (31 December 2021) the Europeans no longer have the right to come to the United Kingdom for the purposes of work. Under the new arrangements, EU citizens are required to apply for work visas alike any other migrant who wishes to obtain employment in the United Kingdom in a number of immigration categories applicable, a matter to be explored in another blog post.
Fact Number 4: The European nationals have enjoyed – under the European Immigration regulations – many freedoms, including the choice to register with the Home Office, this was known as Registration Certificate or Permanent Residence Documentation. Both of those were optional and had not been made mandatory to apply, in fact, it operated as an automatic right, this meant that the EU nationals obtained their rights automatically, which then would be confirmed by the authorities on application, subject to demonstrating the exercise of treaty rights at some point in the past for the requisite period. The current system made it mandatory for the applicants to apply if the rights are to be secured.
Fact number 5:Upon the deadline on 31 December 2020 there were many EU nationals who could not make applications to register under the settlement scheme. A decision to extend the time for applicants were made and the grace period was introduced until the end of June 2021 to enable all remaining would-be applicants to apply and register under the scheme. Many have applied during the grace period and the number totalled nearly 5.3 million which initially was anticipated by the Authorities to be in a region of 3 million. Undoubtedly, there would be many applicants who fell foul of making applications in time for various reasons and lodge applications in the future under the scheme. This at present is permissible if there are good reasons as to why the application was not submitted. A non-exhaustive list of reasons where applications are accepted can be found in another blog titled, late EU settlement scheme applications.
We, at Lawlex solicitors, have extensive knowledge of Immigration law and Rules applicable to the EU settlement schemes. If you happen to require help in navigating the complex web of applicable rules or have not been able to make a timely application under the scheme, give us a call or schedule an appointment to see how we can assist you.