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McGill & Co is a Scottish immigration law firm specialising in UK immigration, nationality and refugee law.

Brexit: What happens now?

03 February 2020 Iain Halliday Brexit & EU Migration

The UK has left the European Union. As of 11pm on 31 January 2020, the UK ceased to be a member of the EU.

However, due to the transitional period provided for in the Withdrawal Agreement, EU law continues to apply until 31 December 2020. This includes free movement law. As such, EU nationals and their family members can continue to come to the UK until the end of this year.

Anyone who relocated to the UK before 31 December 2020 will be entitled to apply under the EU Settlement Scheme. Anyone who meets the definition of family member prior to this date can join the EU citizen in the UK at any point in the future.

This is important for unmarried partners – you must have an EEA residence card recognising your relationship (or get married) before 31 December 2020 in order to be accepted as a family member. Children born after 31 December 2020 can also join their EEA national parent in the UK, providing the parent relocated to the UK prior to the end of the transition period.

The deadline for applying for settled or pre-settled status is 30 June 2021. If you do not apply before this deadline you will have no immigration status in the UK.

The vast majority of EEA citizens will need to apply. Even those with a document certifying permanent residence need to apply. Only the following people are exempt:

  1. EEA nationals who have naturalised as British citizens before 31 June 2021;
  1. Irish nationals, who can choose to apply but do not have to;
  1. EEA nationals who have already been granted indefinite leave to remain, for instance those who had immigration status in the UK before their country joined the EU. People in this category may still wish to apply for settled status, to ensure they have up to date evidence of their status after Brexit, however they do not need to apply.

If your application for pre-settled or settled status is refused, or you are granted pre-settled status when you should have been granted settled status, there is a right of appeal to the First-tier Tribunal. An independent judge will decide whether you are eligible after hearing: evidence from you and any witnesses you wish to call; legal arguments from the Home Office; and legal arguments from your or your representative. This is an important procedural safeguard.

The vast majority of applications should be relatively simple. Over 2.4 million applications have been processed by the Home Office so far. Very few have been refused. The following people are likely to have complicated cases and should seek advice before applying:

  1. Anyone who has been outside the UK for more than 6 months in any 12 month period;
  2. Anyone with criminal convictions;
  3. Extended family members such as durable/unmarried partners, dependant relatives, and members of your household (other than your spouse and/or children);
  4. People with status based on existing free movement case law and legislation i.e. people relying on Surinder Singh, Zambrano, Chen, or a retained right of residence.

If you think you may fall in to any of these categories, or you just want some reassurance that you are on the right track, then get in touch and we can see what we can do to help.

For more information, watch our Brexit video here –



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