| The Legal status of new arrivals from the EU after a no deal Brexit
In preparation of Brexit the government will be passing a law to remove the right of free movement for EU citizens. The Immigration and Social Security Co – ordination (EU Withdrawal) Bill will have its second reading in the House of Commons on Wednesday 16th January and will revoke these and other EU derived domestic legislation that provides for free movement. This will then allow the government to bring in new rules on migration from the EU.
The government white paper says that these new rules will start in 2021 and under the draft Brexit withdrawal agreement free movement will continue between the 29th March 2019 and the 31st December 2020.
It has been difficult to avoid the drama surrounding the Brexit deal and there may not be a withdrawal agreement. In a no deal situation there will be no transitional period and for EU nationals already living in the UK by the 29th March 2019 this is not likely to be a problem but for those who arrive after the 29th March 2019 the impact will be significant. Similarly it is unlikely 3.4millon EU nationals can or will apply for status by the 29th March 2019.
And what of arrivals post 29th March 2019. It appears that both current EU nationals and those arriving post Brexit will be protected by the EEA Regulation 2016, however their rights will derived solely from domestic law. A no deal Brexit leaves the long-term status of EU nationals unresolved. The government has said that the EU Settlement Scheme will only be open to those living in the UK before the 29th March 2019 in a no deal scenario. This indicates those arriving after this date are likely to have no way of guaranteeing their legal right to stay once the EEA Regulations are abolished.
EU rights protected are unilateral and although the UK may protect the rights of EU nationals resident in the UK, the same cannot be said for the 27 member states. British nationals may find themselves on day one to no longer being afforded free movement and treated as third country nationals.