LONDON — The U.K. government on Wednesday announced that people from EU countries will have until at least 2021 before they are required to prove their residency rights in Britain.
The announcement by the Home Office marks an acknowledgment by the government that it will be unable to introduce a new immigration system immediately after Brexit.
Instead, temporary restrictions for European migrants would be introduced on October 31 in the event of a no-deal exit from the bloc, the government said.
The move marks a significant climbdown for Prime Minister Boris Johnson, who had stressed his commitment to ending free movement immediately after Brexit.
The U.K.s immigration department has been wrestling with the near-impossible task of passing legislation to abolish freedom of movement before the October 31 deadline, as well as the challenge of how to distinguish between EU nationals living in the country before and after Brexit.
The government had until Wednesday not yet commissioned a report into Australias migration system, which the U.K. is eyeing as a possible model.
“After careful consideration, myself, the Prime Minister and Cabinet have therefore agreed that EU citizens moving here after a no deal Brexit will be able to access a temporary immigration status, until the new skills-based immigration system goes live at the start of 2021,” Patel said in a statement to parliament on Wednesday.
After a no-deal Brexit, EU nationals arriving in the U.K. between October 31 and December 31, 2020, would continue to be allowed to enter the country just by showing a passport or a national identity card.
Those wishing to stay for longer than three months would need to apply for a new European Temporary Leave to Remain scheme, which would be free of charge and voluntary until the end of 2020 — enabling them to stay for up to three years.
EU citizens would not be required to prove their residency status when applying for jobs or renting a house, however, until 2021.
Once the full immigration system is in place beyond 2021, EU nationals will have to apply for permission to stay, and applications fees would apply, the Home Office said.
However, in updated guidance, the department acknowledged it will not be possible to distinguish between EU nationals living in the country before and after Brexit until at least the end of 2020. Because of that, employers or landlords will not be asked to carry out checks until everyone who is eligible for the EU settlement scheme has had a “reasonable opportunity” to get that sorted.
Beyond December 2020, employers and others will need to check the status of people from the EU but they will not be requested to do this retrospectively.
Steven Peers, professor of EU lRead More – Source