On 20 and 21 August 2019, there were several news reports, apparently citing the new Home Secretary’s (Preeti Patel) desire to end freedom of movement, for EEA nationals and their family members, on 31 October 2019, if the UK’s departure from the EU result in a no-deal exit.
Home Secretary Preeti Patel added that EEA nationals already resident in the UK will still be eligible to apply for settled status until December 2020.
This is a departure from earlier government assurances to protect the freedom of movement rights of EEA nationals until at least 31 December 2020.
The confusion about the rights of EEA nationals following a no-deal exit, has forced the Home Office to release a statement to clarify the position. The statement reads as follows:
21 August 2019
This is the latest information on the EU Settlement Scheme for EU citizens living in the UK. You are receiving this because you have requested email updates from the UK Government.
Update on the EU Settlement Scheme
There have been reports in the media and on social media regarding plans to end freedom of movement after we leave the EU, as well as what this means for EU citizens resident in the UK.
We want to reassure all EU citizens and their family members in the UK that you still have until at least 31 December 2020 to apply to the EU Settlement Scheme, even in the event of a no-deal exit. Furthermore, if someone who is eligible for status is not in the UK when we leave the EU, they will still be free to enter the UK as they are now.
Those who have not yet applied to the EU Settlement Scheme by 31 October 2019 will still have the same entitlements to work, benefits and services. Those rights will not change. EU citizens will continue to be able to prove their rights to access these benefits and services in the same way as they do now.
Home Office Communications
In light of the uncertainty and proposed changes, we continue to recommend to our readers and clients to apply to the EU Settlement Scheme for pre-settled status or settled status. Doing so will help protect your and your family status in the UK should the UK leave the EU with a deal, or in the event of a no-deal exit.
Written by Carla Thomas – Managing Director at Thomas Chase immigration. Thomas Chase Immigration offer immigration help to individuals and families.
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