Residency Rights Reassurance for EU Expats Even with No Deal Brexit

ProACT Sam examines what ‘No Deal’ Brexit means for Expats Living and Working Abroad  and the Residency Rights and Certainties for EU Expats Even with A No Deal Brexit. 

ProACT Sam looks at the guarantees and certainties available to EU Expats Living and Working Abroad in the UK in the Event of No Deal Brexit. The UK government position goes beyond what is already confirmed if the Withdrawal Treaty which would only come into force if the deal is agreed and signed.

What Happens to EU Expats Residency Rights With Brexit?

‘No Deal Brexit’ now could give us certainty that we know where we stand - clearly speaking.  We know how individual countries and the EU deal with Expat individuals and business from outside the EU. While an EU country cannot discriminate against an EU citizen, it can offer different treatment to global citizens on all issues including residency rights.

The UK government policy has gone beyond its obligations to EU Citizens in the issued guidance to  EU Expats Living and Working Abroad  in the UK offering reassurance and commitments.

These arrangements incorporated in the Withdrawal treaty offer a good deal for EU Expats in the UK and are to be reciprocated by EU countries for UK Expats Living and Working Abroad  in the EU. However in the event of No Deal the EU countries are not obligated to reciprocate.

This is where the politics come in.  The UK have a policy already in place that goes beyond the minimum necessary to support EU Expats and could allow individual countries to Reciprocate with UK Expats. The UK approach is being done in the expectation that there will be reciprocation by EU governments including in a ‘no deal’ scenario.

What are the UK Settled Status Arrangements for Expats?

The UK have already confirmed in June 2018 all EU expats will be able to apply as of right for ‘settled’ status from Brexit day 29/3/19. The UK is seeking to find ways to grant the right to stay rather than refuse EU Expats, If No Deal is reached the settled status scheme will still be available to EU Expats Living and Working Abroad  in the UK before Brexit Day. There will be no change to their rights to work and access to benefits and services.

The UK cannot make deals with individual countries before Brexit but has requested that other EU countries act in a way to protect the rights of UK Expats Living and Working Abroad  in the EU.

What is the Impact of Brexit on UK - Ireland Travel

There is a  UK - Ireland Common Travel Arrangements that offer Expats of either country rights and privileges between the two countries.  These are outside any EU or Brexit arrangement and will be maintained whether there is a Brexit deal or not.

There is some irony here; as there has never been a UK Ireland issue on the border before the EU, maybe the UK could reverse the agenda and offer the EU a version of the UK-Ireland Travel Agreement to avoid the confusion and delay that extend these arrangements to the whole of the EU?

What Happens to EU Expats in the UK with No Deal?

The UK have confirmed the EU Settled Status Scheme will continue to be implemented in the event of ‘No Deal Brexit’ enabling EU Expats and their family living in the UK on Brexit day to remain and continue to live, work, study, access benefits and services 

If the Withdrawal Treaty is not passed and ‘No Deal’ ensues then the UK government have GUARANTEED that EU Expats will still have the right to stay Living and Working Abroad  in the UK for there lifetime by taking the the necessary steps to apply for  ‘Settled Status’ scheme already announced for EU citizens living in the UK before Brexit date.

Any EU Expat living in the UK by 29/3/19 will be eligible to apply for settled status on the same basis even if no deal enabling EU Expats and the family to remain legally in the UK with residency status in UK law for their lifetime. 

What Proof will Be Need in a UK Residency Application?

The UK are testing and streamlining a user friendly online application process that will drawn on existing known data eg tax, national insurance and pay records, and looking to grant residency rather than refuse.

EU Expats will have until 31/12/2020 to make their application for settled status. EU passports and ID cards could continue to be used as ID until settled status is confirmed if applying for a new UK job or travel cross borders.

One big difference with ‘No Deal’ Brexit is that there is no 6 months grace period for submission of the settled status application.  With no Deal an EU Expat can apply for settled status from 29/3/2019 until and by 31/12/2020. After that date the new UK Immigration Rules will apply from 1/1/2021 and new EU migrants to the UK will be subject these rules.

If there is a refusal for the EU Expat for settled status the resolution of appeals will be administrative within the UK or through the UK Courts - the European Court of Justice will no longer have jurisdiction in the UK.

What Happens If an EU Expat with Settled Status Leaves the UK?

After Brexit the UK will honour and allow ‘settled status’ to be retained by EU Expats even if leaving the UK and going to be Living and Working Abroad  in another country for up to 5 consecutive years. So once settle status is granted the status is a secure legal residency status for Expats Living and Working in the UK.

Settled status will be revoked only if the EU Expat breaks their residency ties for longer than 5 years with the UK.

What are the No Deal rules for Family Joining EU Expats in the UK after Brexit?

Any EU Citizen Living and Working Abroad  in the UK by 29/3/2019 is guaranteed to be able to submit an application for settled status to remain in the UK for their lifetime.

Any family members living in the UK at that time will also be entitled to apply for settled status, even if not working. This includes spouse, children, parents and grandparents.  Proving a relationship existed before 29/3/2019 is of essence: such as cohabiting, engaged, joint utility, bank accounts, travel. Children born after 29/3/2019 will be entitled to settled status as long as the parents relationship can be proven to have existed prior to Brexit Day.

The family members application for settled status must still be made by 31/12/2020 for family members with a no deal caveat that the family members must join the EU Expat Living in the UK within 3 years of EU Brexit and by 29/3/2022.

What Travel, Benefits and Services Restrictions will EU Expats have under No Deal Settled Status?

After No Deal Brexit the EU Expat can still use their EU Passport and ID for travel, service, benefit and job applications until they receive confirmation of their settled status.  The UK does not have an ID registration system, and does not intend to introduce one.

EU Expats can continue to freely travel in and out of the UK using their EU credentials, even with no deal, remembering that settled status must be applied for by 31/12/2020.  EU Expats cannot remain indefinitely without the application for settled status.

The UK Government has gone further to confirm that the EU Expat will also retain full rights, unchanged, to health and welfare benefits and services in the UK, after Brexit day and when granted settled status.

Frontier Workers

‘Frontier Workers’ working in the UK but maintaining their family home in an separate EU country have been acknowledged for special treatment, they will be able to continue working in the UK and living in the EU indefinitely with no change to their freedom of movement.  This is a clear statement by the UK to acknowledge and welcome Expats working in the UK. That leaving the EU does not mean EU Expats are not welcome to remain in the UK. 

In a similar vein EU Expats working in the UK with accredited Professional Qualifications will continue to have these accepted for practice in the UK - without resubmitting new verification applications for approval, meaning they can continue to be secure in their UK work and business in the knowledge they will not be obstructed in the event of No Deal Brexit.

UK Takes the Lead - Will the EU Respond?

In our next article we will discuss the status of UK Expats in the EU and the impact of No Deal Brexit. The UK have issued guarantees and reassurance to the 3 million EU Expats Living and Working Abroad  in the UK and it is to be hoped EU countries will reciprocate.  However these issues require EU direction and individual country decisions, some that cannot or have not been taken at this time. We will discuss the fate of the 1 million UK Expats Living and Working Abroad  in the EU next time.


Contact us, ProACT EU Brexit for Expats Experts, for a free review and guidance.