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As the new Brexit deadline of 31st October approaches, it seems likely that the UK will end up leaving the EU without a deal. No Deal Brexit disastrous predictions have been circulating for years already, but the lack of progress from the UK government is causing a lot of stress for Brits and EU citizens alike. The pressure is mounting and people don’t know what is happening or what they are supposed to do about Brexit.
What happens to EU citizens in the UK after No Deal Brexit?
Around 75% of EU citizens living in the UK have yet to apply for Brexit’s EU Settlement Scheme. This is primarily due to some logistical problems which are also affecting all other areas of Brexit negotiations. Despite original statements that the rights of EU citizens would not change, it seems that this is not quite true. There are about 3.2 million EU citizens living and working in the UK, with at least 2.6 million yet to apply for settlement status. The deadline for applying for the legal right to remain in the UK is not until 31st December 2020. However, now that the UK government is saying that they are suspending freedom of movement immediately on 31st October 2019, EU citizens are concerned about the immediate change in their rights. If there is no transition period, then millions of lives could change for the worse overnight. It could mean that EU citizens travelling abroad after 31st October are unable to return to the UK. This would create more difficulties for students and workers who have to travel for business. Previously, the government put a limit of 90 days on visits out of the country, but this no longer seems to be the case. The new immigration rules to follow the suspension of freedom of movement have yet to be explained, leaving millions in a legal limbo.
What happens to UK citizens in the EU after No Deal Brexit?
There are similar anxieties for UK citizens who are living and working in EU countries. The way that the EU treats UK citizens will depend on the way that the UK treats EU citizens. With the situation being the way it is, things do not look good for British expats and workers in the EU. The UK government recently announced plans to provide £3 million in funds to assist UK nationals living in the EU with residency applications. There are around 1 million British citizens working, living, and studying in the EU. Those who are elderly or need help with translating languages can get assistance from organizations to complete their applications for residency and registering for healthcare in their country of residence. The same issues regarding the abrupt end of freedom of movement will apply in reverse. Advice on this from Theresa May’s government is still available online, but if a No Deal Brexit occurs then it might not apply.
What happens to Freedom of Movement after No Deal Brexit?
If the UK leaves the EU without a deal on 31st October, then freedom of movement between the UK and EU countries would cease overnight. Without an effective immigration system in place, this will result in chaos and have a negative impact on many lives throughout the UK and Europe. If they have not received settled status before Brexit, European nationals trying to re-enter the UK could be denied. It will be difficult for border control, healthcare, banks, and employers to distinguish the EU nationals who are legally entitled to their services. Not only will it be almost impossible to enforce, but it could also result in international hostility. The only citizens who will not be affected are Irish citizens in the UK and UK citizens in Ireland due to a free movement deal between Irish and British ministers. Some campaigners would prefer to see the introduction of a “green card” scheme to protect citizens’ rights in the UK and the EU. This would also make it easier for border authorities to “fast-track” legal residents without requiring additional checks for all.
What is happening with the EU Settlement Scheme?
Talk Tax previously provided a guide to the Brexit EU Settlement Scheme ahead of the original Brexit date, which you can access below. Most of the information is still correct apart from the date of Brexit changing to 31st October 2019. The final deadline for applications to the scheme may be in December 2020, but it is advisable to apply as soon as possible. If you do not have settled or pre-settled status when the UK leaves the EU, it would make travelling very difficult for you. It is free to apply, but it is still only possible to do so on Android phones and not iPhones. So far, of the people who have applied to the Settlement Scheme, around 2/3 have been granted settled status and 1/3 have been granted pre-settled status. You can learn more about what this means in our guide linked below.