It has been more than three years since the UK voted to leave the EU in a referendum. Mrs Theresa May took office in July 2016 after the country voted leave. She categorically ruled out a second referendum and, even though she did manage to reach an agreement with the EU, she could neither do it in parliament not even within her own party, which eventually led to her resignation as the Prime Minister. Since Mrs May’s departure, Boris Johnson has replaced her promising major changes; in particular, new terms of the UK’s withdrawal from the EU, focusing mainly on maintaining the current tariff-free trade agreements with the EU.
However, the real question which concerns people is what will happen to their future in terms of their immigration status? More precisely, to their jobs, families, friends, and free movement rights that felt so inherent to their condition as the national of the EU. According to the current White Paper published by the UK Government, everyone will be required to obtain permission if they want to come to the UK and work or study here.
The key difference is that there will no longer be one immigration system for non-European or International citizens, and another for EU citizens. Regardless of the outcome of Brexit, the future immigration system in the UK aims to apply the same rules to all nationalities. Skilled migrants will be prioritized and the talent pool will be given a fair opportunity to work in the UK. The new system is still under development; however, the UK Government aims to implement it as soon as an agreement is reached between London and Brussels. This should (allegedly) happen at the end of October 2019. However, the likelihood of that date being postponed again is high.
Europeans who already live in the UK and wish to secure their status should apply for the EU Settlement Scheme to obtain either settled or pre-settled status. This should also be carefully considered by businesses that employ a majority of European workers, as their immigration status might significantly delay or even reduce the productivity of their business. Similarly, boarding schools and higher institutions should consider settled status applications for their students, as a large number of their pupils comprise of European and International students. The family members of EU nationals are also able to join them under the rules; however, each case has to be dealt with accordingly.
There are currently two deadlines to make the applications mentioned above: first is on 30 June 2021, if the UK leaves with a deal, and the second is on 31 December 2020, if the UK leaves without a deal.
There appears to be a general consensus as to the current political events already having a dramatic impact on UK’s economic sectors such as services, automotive and manufacturing, food and farming, chemicals and pharmaceuticals, research and education. The ultimate Brexit outcome is known neither by lawyers, local councils nor other organisations. Nevertheless, the certain factor is that those who consider residing, working, studying or looking for a job in the UK should secure their status as a matter of priority, regardless of the future political events.