December 6, 2018

EU Approves Draft Brexit Withdrawal Agreement and the Impact on Relocation

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EU Approves Draft Brexit Withdrawal Agreement and the Impact on Relocation

Posted by: Christine Wrigley, Manager, Supply Chain Management and Fabiana Hershfield, Supply Chain Manager

The European Council met in an extraordinary session on 24-25 November 2018, to formally approve the draft Brexit Withdrawal Agreement to which EU and UK negotiators agreed on 15 November 2018. The 27 remaining EU countries endorsed the Agreement. The Agreement will now be subject to the political process of Parliamentary ratification in the United Kingdom and Parliamentary consent in the European Union.

As a reminder, the Withdrawal Agreement has the following impact on EU and UK nationals:

  • Foreign nationals who begin residence before 1 January 2021 will be able to apply for status to confirm their residence.
  • Foreign nationals with five years’ residence in the United Kingdom will qualify for settled status, a version of permanent residence.
  • Foreign nationals with less than five years’ residence in the United Kingdom will qualify for pre-settled status, and should be eligible for settled status after five years.
  • Foreign nationals with less than five years’ residence in the European Union will be able to apply for permanent residence after five years.

If It All Goes To Plan: Brexit Timeline

To keep up to date on any immigration developments Cartus works closely with our immigration provider Fragomen, who releases regular Fragomen-Brexit-Timeline.pngupdates on immigration as it relates to Brexit and other issues. Despite the difficulty in planning for Brexit, as some commenters expect the deal to be rejected by Parliament, it is still best to have a strategy in place for the UK government’s intended plan of action. Fragomen has prepared a Brexit issues log―If it All Goes to Plan-A Fragomen Brexit Timeline―which sets out known and assumed milestones for the next three years which will help you understand what to expect and what you can do to prepare.

Note: This briefing was published on 16 November 2018 and assumes that the current Brexit deal will be approved by the UK and European Parliaments. With events moving at pace, you should speak to Fragomen for an update on the latest position.

Political Declaration on the Future EU-UK Relationship

A non-binding political declaration on the future relationship between the European Union and United Kingdom is annexed to the Withdrawal Agreement. This declaration gives an overview of the type of partnership the European Union and the United Kingdom envisage after the end of the Brexit transition period, starting 1 January 2021. The declaration contains broad and general wording overall.

Among numerous topics, the declaration includes a chapter dedicated to mobility, which primarily covers the below topics: 

  • Confirmation of short-term visa-exempt travel for EU nationals travelling to the United Kingdom and vice versa; 
  • Commitments on temporary entry and stay of natural persons for business purposes in defined areas;
  • Possible facilitated border crossings for legitimate travel;
  • Possible rules on social security coordination in the light of future movement of persons; and,
  • Possible discussions about the conditions of entry and stay of researchers, students, trainees, and youth participating in exchanges.

Despite claims that the European Union and the United Kingdom seek ambitious mobility provisions for EU and UK nationals after the end of the Brexit transition period, the language of the declaration instead indicates standard visa waiver arrangements and a free trade agreement with limited migration provisions. While some special rules might be negotiated for researchers, students, and trainees, it is not yet clear whether these will differ from rules already in place in the European Union. Nevertheless, this declaration is non-binding and as such may be subject to change.

Fragomen is closely following this subject and will issue further client alerts as developments occur.

© 2018 Fragomen, Del Rey, Bernsen & Loewy, LLP, Fragomen Global LLP and affiliates. All Rights Reserved. This alert is for informational purposes only and does not constitute legal advice or give rise to an attorney-client relationship between you and Fragomen Worldwide. If you have any questions, please do not hesitate to contact the global immigration professional with whom you work at Fragomen Worldwide.

Cartus Recommendations for Relocation Managers

Cartus recommends that you:

  • Carefully discuss the Brexit implications to your company with your immigration provider.
  • Collaborate with your HR team on required steps to prepare for the immigration changes that Brexit will bring, and to ensure that all EU and UK staff remain authorised to work.
  • Start developing contingency plans to ensure that your company is prepared for the Brexit post-transition period that would be secured if the Brexit deal is adopted on time.

Should you require any further information about this or any other aspect of visa/immigration planning, please seek specialist advice from your immigration provider. 

Please Take Our Short Pulse Survey to Share Your Insights

Please take our pulse survey, What Will Your Temporary Housing Policy Look Like in a Post-Brexit World?, which will be open through 18 Take Our Survey Button blue.pngDecember, to share how you are approaching your temporary housing policy in the lead up to Brexit.

The findings of this pulse survey will be presented during a Brexit webinar that Cartus will be hosting in early 2019 focusing on the topic of temporary housing. Your feedback is important and all qualified participants will receive a free copy of the survey results.

We thank you in advance for participating in this pulse survey!

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