This report covers the details, in brief, of a new U.K. policy paper on the rights of European Union (EU) citizens in the U.K. in the event of a “no deal” Brexit.
On 6 December 2018, the U.K. government published a policy paper on the rights of European Union (EU) citizens in the U.K. in the event of the U.K. leaving the EU without a deal.1 The paper highlights a number of key differences in rights afforded to EU citizens compared to the rights which would be guaranteed under the Draft Agreement on the withdrawal of the U.K. from the EU (“DWA”) dated 14 November 2018.2
The policy paper also provides some information for U.K. nationals in the EU in a “no deal” scenario.
While the U.K. government has released a number of technical notices regarding a no deal Brexit scenario covering such areas as importing and exporting, money and tax, and workplace rights3, it has not been as explicit about the consequences of no deal on EU citizens in the United Kingdom (for related coverage, see GMS Flash Alert 2018-129, 4 October 2018).
It has now become clear that while the policy paper is still based on the terms of the DWA, it marks a more restrictive approach to the post-Brexit treatment of EU citizens in the event that the U.K. and EU are unable to reach an agreement on the terms of the U.K.’s withdrawal.
This is also the first time the U.K. government has shared information on what a no deal scenario might mean for U.K. citizens in the European Union.
The main details of the policy paper regarding EU citizens in the U.K. are as follows:
The main details of the policy paper regarding U.K. citizens in the EU are as follows:
The announcements in the policy paper are likely to add another layer of confusion for EU citizens and employers. This shift towards a potentially more restrictive approach, with little notice before the U.K.’s withdrawal on 29 March 2019, could have the result of unsettling many businesses and individuals who had expected there to be a two-year transition period before restrictions on the movement of EU citizens came into force.
On the other hand, U.K. citizens living in the EU, who have thus far received very little information on their rights and obligations post-Brexit are likely to welcome the information contained in the policy paper.
However, it is important for businesses and employees to remember that these policies will only apply in the event of a no deal outcome to the negotiations. The overriding message of the policy paper is that those EU citizens who are already in the U.K., and those U.K. citizens already living in the EU, will generally have their rights protected. EU citizens in the U.K. will have until 31 December 2020 to obtain an immigration status document in the United Kingdom.
However, in a no deal scenario there will not be a transition period. Future arrivals from the EU as of 29 March 2019, may therefore be impacted, and businesses should consider these implications as part of their planning (in the event of no deal) regarding their future workforce.
1 See “Citizens’ Rights - EU citizens in the UK and UK nationals in the EU (PDF 199KB),” a policy paper from the U.K. Department for Exiting the European Union.
2 See “Draft Agreement on the withdrawal of the United Kingdom of Great Britain and Northern Ireland from the European Union and the European Atomic Energy Community, as agreed at negotiators' level on 14 November 2018,” on the Web site for the European Commission.
3 See “How to prepare if the UK leaves the EU with no deal,” published by the U.K. government.
For additional information or assistance, please contact your local GMS or People Services professional* or one of the following professionals with the KPMG International member firm in the United Kingdom.
The KPMG Legal Services – Immigration Team has a wealth of experience in transactional, advisory, and compliance assurance services. We will be able to advise your business in relation to practical considerations in light of the above changes, as well as what this means for your long-term recruitment and compliance strategies.
* Please note the KPMG International member firm in the United States does not provide immigration or labour law services. However, KPMG Law LLP in Canada can assist clients with U.S. immigration matters.
The information contained in this newsletter was submitted by the KPMG International member firm in the United Kingdom.
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