The UK and EU have confirmed that a revised Withdrawal Agreement has been agreed ahead of the EU27’s meeting in Brussels today. The next step for Boris Johnson will be for MPs to vote on his new deal in the House of Commons on Saturday 19th October 2019. Whilst Boris Johnson appears confident his deal will pass in the House of Commons and the UK will leave the EU on 31 October 2019, there are sill a number of complex steps that must be completed and there are no guarantees the UK will leave with our without deal on 31 October 2019.
Having reviewed the new deal, there is no change to the protection of EU citizen’s rights and the movement of people. This means if the UK leaves the EU as planned on 31 October 2019, the transition phase will remain in place until the end of 2020 i.e. freedom of movement will continue until 31 December 2020 and the EU Settlement Scheme will remain open until 30 June 2021.
If the new deal is not ratified on Saturday, the UK will either have to request an extension to the end of January 2020 (in which case freedom of movement as it is now continues until then), or, leave the EU on 31 October with no deal in place. The Brexit Secretary, Stephen Barclay, confirmed whilst giving evidence to the House of Commons Exiting the European Union committee, the Government will “comply with the Benn Act” and request an extension from the EU. Nevertheless, the EU27 would need to agree to the UK’s request for an extension – something Jean-Claude Juncker appeared today not to be in favour of.
If the UK leaves with no deal then EU nationals will continue to be admitted freely until 31 December 2020. Those nationals wishing to stay beyond the end of 2020 will need to apply for Euro – Temporary Leave to Remain.
If you or your organisation require any assistance or guidance on the latest developments or workforce planning, please do not hesitate to contact SM&B’s Employment team.