BREXIT – UK and EU Agree New Article 50 Extension Until 31 October 2019
On 10 April 2019, the EU and the UK government agreed a new, flexible extension of the Article 50 period, lasting only for as long as necessary to ratify the Withdrawal Agreement and, in any event, no longer than 31 October 2019.
The European Council attached several conditions to this extension:
- The EU will not reopen negotiations on the Withdrawal Agreement, but it can discuss changes to the non-binding Political Declaration on the future relationship.
- There will be a review at the European Council meeting at the end of June 2019, to take stock of progress.
- The UK must continue to be a member state of the EU, with a "duty of sincere cooperation” (no filibustering or vetoing of Council decisions) and will remain a full member of the bloc with all voting rights.
What Might Happen Next?
The UK and the EU could ratify the Withdrawal Agreement by 31 October 2019.
The UK would then leave the EU in an orderly manner on the first day of the following month, and enter a stand-still transition period until the end of 2020 (unless extended).
The rights of UK national employees and their family members resident in the EU, and EU citizens resident in the UK, before the end of the transition period will be protected, although registration rules will vary between member states. In the UK, the EU Settlement Scheme is already open to EU nationals already in the UK seeking to obtain 'settled status' or 'presettled status' in advance of Brexit.
There could be a disorderly no-deal Brexit on 1 November 2019, if the UK fails to ratify the Withdrawal Agreement by 31 October 2019.
In this case, the measures established by EU member states and the UK for a no-deal scenario would take effect as of 1 November 2019.
UK nationals and their family members already registered as resident in an EU member state by Brexit day should be able to stay and continue to work for a certain period, but may have to obtain a new residence status, according to separate arrangements made by individual EU member states.
EU nationals already resident in the UK by Brexit day will be eligible to apply for settled or resettled status under the EU Settlement Scheme.
The UK government could request, and the EU may grant, another extension of the Article 50 period before 31 October 2019, delaying any outcome.
The UK government could unilaterally revoke Article 50, effectively cancelling Brexit.
During the Withdrawal Agreement transition period, free movement continues. This means that, until the end date of the transition period, UK nationals will still be able to enter the EU and start living and working there, on the same conditions as they can currently, as EU nationals. The same applies for EU nationals moving to the UK.
UK nationals entering the EU after the Withdrawal Agreement transition period, or after a no deal Brexit, will be third-country (i.e. non-EU) nationals and will no longer benefit from the EU’s freedom of movement principle.
For stays of up to 90 days no visa will be required (provided that the UK reciprocates). From 1 January 2021, UK nationals will need to apply for ETIAS travel authorisation prior to a trip to the EU. For stays of more than 90 days, and for work authorisation, applications under national rules will be required.
The UK government has proposed granting EU citizens arriving after a no-deal Brexit largely the same rights as entrants before Brexit, under transitional arrangements until planned new immigration rules take effect.
- Affected employers can protect the rights of their affected employees living and working in the UK and/or in EU member states, and can plan their future workforce needs.
- To avoid problems in a no-deal Brexit scenario, ensure all UK employees residing in an EU member state, and EU citizens resident in the UK, and their family members begin gathering documents in support of possible future immigration applications and submit registration or residence applications (where applicable) by Brexit day.
- Employers should be prepared for lengthy and complex immigration application processes in any post-Brexit scenario, and should consider bringing forward any planned assignments between the UK and the EU.
- Contact a Newland Chase immigration specialist for case-specific advice.