This article provides answers to some frequently asked questions relating to Brexit.
The responses are subject to change as Brexit develops.
When is Brexit?
UPDATE: Following a debate with EU leaders on Wednesday 10 April 2019, the UK has been offered an extension to “Exit Day” of 31 October 2019. Theresa May has reportedly confirmed that the UK can leave earlier than this, and potentially still by 22 May 2019, if Parliament can agree an exit deal.
As yet, the legislation has not been amended to reflect the change to Exit Day. The following legislation is still in place:
Entering into force on 28 March 2019, the European Union (Withdrawal) Act 2018 (Exit Day) (Amendment) Regulations 2019, SI 2019/718 redefines exit day in section 20 of the European Union (Withdrawal) Act 2018, altering the date and time specified in that definition from 11pm on 29 March 2019 to:
- 11pm on 22 May 2019 if MPs approve the Withdrawal Agreement by 29 March 2019, or
- 11pm on 12 April 2019, if MPs do not approve the Withdrawal Agreement by 29 March 2019 – this remains the default position if an agreement cannot be found.
The 29 March 2019 has been and gone and we are yet to see a confirmed Brexit date. There are various options being discussed but none yet confirmed.
How do I check a European worker’s right to work?
You can see the latest government guidance on checking a European’s right to work here.
- The rights and status of EEA citizens living in the UK will remain the same until 30 June 2021 (31 December 2020 in a ‘no-deal’ scenario).
- Deal – EEA citizens in or arriving in the UK by 31 December 2020 can continue to use their national ID card or passport as proof of right to work in the UK until 30 June 2021. They can apply to the EU Settlement Scheme until 30 June 2021 after which they will have to apply for leave to remain under the new immigration system to be introduced from 1 January 2021. See the Government right to work guidance 2019.
- No deal – EEA citizens arriving in the UK before the 29 March 2019 will have until 31 December 2020 to apply to the EU Settlement Scheme and can use their national ID cards or passport until 31 December 2020. After that, if they haven’t applied for status they will have to apply via the new immigration system or leave the UK.
- In a no deal, EEA citizens who arrive after 29 March 2019; and prior to the new skills based immigration system in 2021; will not be eligible for the EU Settlement Scheme unless they have previously lived in the UK prior to 29 March 2019 so will have to apply for status under the new immigration system or the European Temporary Leave to Remain scheme, if applicable.
- Those in the process or on completion of the EU Settlement Scheme will be able to prove their status online or via documents issued by the Home Office showing their settlement status. See the Government’s toolkit for workers to prove their right to work here.
- For information on how an EEA worker proves their right to work in the UK from 1 January 2021 in the event of a ‘no-deal’ see gov.uk guidance on proving your status as an EU national.
If you hold a permanent residence card you will still have to apply to the EU Settlement Scheme for a status decision to remain in the UK after 30 June 2021. EU settled status will allow you to be outside the UK for up to 5 years without losing your indefinite leave to remain.
Alternatively you could apply for British citizenship.
The UK and the EU have agreed that permanent residence documents or registration certificates will be invalid after Brexit.
How can we establish and maintain our statutory excuse?
Do we need to end assignments on 29 March 2019 for EU nationals?
There is no requirement to end assignments or make roles redundant if they are filled by EU nationals. There are protections in place for EU nationals in the event of a deal or a no deal to ensure they can remain in the UK to live, work or study.
Are Europeans going to be banned from entering the UK after Brexit?
No. There are provisions in place to allow citizens from the European Economic Area to remain and enter the UK to work, live and study in the event of both a deal and a no deal.
What is the EU Settlement Scheme?
The rights and status of EEA citizens living in the UK will remain the same until 30 June 2021.
Those EEA citizens already in the UK and those EEA citizens that arrive in the UK by 31 December 2020 will be eligible to apply to the EU Settlement Scheme for settled (indefinite leave to remain) or pre-settled (limited time to remain) status up to 30 June 2021. If they fail to make an application for settled or pre-settled status they will have to leave the UK or apply for leave to remain under the new immigration system being introduced on 1 January 2021.
Pre-settled status, if granted, will allow an EEA citizen to stay in the UK for 5 years. The EEA citizen can then apply for settled status if they meet the requirement of 5 continuous years living in the UK.
Successful applicants will be given digital proof of their status. Paper copies will only be given in limited circumstances. The worker will be able to prove their right to work online. The government guidance suggests that this will be enough to prove their right to work but for official guidance on checking right to work via online settled status we will have to wait for the Home Office to update their right to work guide. See the government’s tool to check whether a worker’s documents give them the right to work.
EU Settlement Scheme – are Irish citizens exempt?
There are some people who won’t need to apply to the EU Settlement Scheme as can be seen in the list here including Irish citizens.
- only available on android phones with near-field communication (NFC) via their app store. It allows you to quickly and securely confirm your identity as part of your application to stay in the UK after Brexit. If successful, you will not have to send in hard copy documents when applying via the online scheme.
- You will still have to send in physical documents if you are unable to use the app because you do not use an android phone.
EU Settlement Scheme or European Temporary Leave to Remain scheme?
If they aren’t eligible for the EU Settlement Scheme they will still be able to enter the UK as normal to live, work or study for up to 3 months without making an application for immigration status or a working visa.
If they wish to stay longer than 3 months they will have to apply for European Temporary Leave to Remain (ETLR) in the UK within the first 3 months they are in the UK. Some people won’t have to apply to the ETLR; the exceptions can be seen on the ELTR government guide.
Some information can be seen in the government’s policy paper on ‘no-deal’ Brexit here.
Essentially, the UK is negotiating to protect the rights of UK workers in the UK but they are unable to do so unilaterally and as such are reliant on agreement from the EU. You can access further guidance:
Data Protection after Brexit
What happens about data transfer to and from the EU?
The GDPR has been written into our domestic legislation in the Data Protection Act 2018.
There is more information from the ICO and government below:
What happens with VAT between the UK and Europe in a ‘no-deal’ scenario?
The VAT regime that will apply will depend on the exit agreement. You can see government guidance from August 2018 about no-deal Brexit VAT here.
What will happen to the VAT reverse charge after Brexit?
This applies to the construction sector only. The REC has been in talks with HMRC about its application to the recruitment sector band they have indicated that it will not apply to recruitment businesses because a recruitment business is not providing construction services. HMRC has advised that they are to release guidance on this point in May 2019.
Discrimination Law after Brexit
Will it change after Brexit?
EU employment law provides a minimum standard below which domestic employment law must not fall. The UK government have made a commitment to ensure that workers’ existing rights are retained.
What are the technical notices that keep being mentioned?
Government guidance on how to prepare for a no-deal Brexit – technical notices.