Changes To Immigration Rules Put In Place Provisions For A No Deal Brexit

13 Nov 2019, 00 mins ago

On 24 October 2019 the Home Office published a Statement of Changes to the Immigration Rules. The statement brought into law a number of changes to the Rules in respect of contingencies to prepare the UK for a no deal Brexit. 

Below is a brief summary of some of the changes to the Immigration Rules that would apply to EU citizens in the event of a no deal Brexit. For further information, or if you are concerned about your status in the UK in the event of a no deal Brexit, please contact us.


European Temporary Leave

The changes introduced into the Immigration Rules the status of European Temporary Leave to remain (“ETL”). The scheme would allow European citizens and their family members moving to the UK after Brexit to reside lawfully in the UK beyond 31 December 2020.

This scheme will only take effect in the event of a no deal Brexit. The ETL scheme will give individuals and their family members 36 months of leave in the UK. This leave cannot be extended at the end of this period and where an individual wishes to stay beyond this period, they would need to apply under the Immigration Rules in force at that time (these are expected to be in place by January 2021). Currently it is prescribed that the ETL may be granted to expire no later than 31 December 2023. Time spent in the UK under the ETL will be able to be counted towards an application for Indefinite Leave to Remain, once applicants have resided in the UK lawfully for a period of 5 years (or shorter, depending on the route they switch into).

If there is a deal, the ETL route will not open. EU nationals will have until 31 December 2020 to relocate to the UK and they will be eligible to apply for a status under the EU Settlement Scheme.


Family members of EU nationals

Broadly speaking, applicants will qualify as a ‘family member’ if they are a spouse, civil partner or durable partner of an EU national. There may be other relationships which qualify and so advice should be sought on the requirements to be met in individual cases.

  • Pre-Brexit The deadline for EU family members to come to the UK will be 29 March 2022 if the relationship existed before Brexit.
  • Post-Brexit If the relationship was formed after Brexit, the deadline to come- to the UK will be 31 December 2020. If a family member moves to the UK after Brexit, they may be able to rely on the new residence period when applying for pre-settled or settled status.

If, however, the family member does not meet these deadlines and wishes to come to the UK, they will be required to apply for a different status under the Immigration Rules as they stand in January 2021. The changes allow for an EU national’s family member to rely on periods during which they were residing in the UK as a family member but were not documented under the EU Settlement Scheme, provided they apply before 31 December 2020.



Deportation of EU Nationals

European nationals and their family members moving to the UK for the first time will be subject to more stringent conduct and criminality thresholds. This essentially means that it would be considerably easier for the UK Home Office to initiate deportation proceedings against a European citizen where there has been a crime committed resulting in a prison sentence. The introduction of this change means that European citizens and their family members will be subject to the current UK standards on deportation for non EU-citizens, where there is a much lower threshold on criminality in comparison to that imposed by EU Law.


Gherson has over 30 years’ experience in all aspects of UK immigration. Should you have any questions about how the changes to the Immigration Rules affect you or how Brexit may impact your or your family’s circumstances, please contact us.

Gherson will be hosting a webinars on Tuesday 19 November at 12pm and 3pm with regards to EU nationals and Brexit. If you would like to join, please email us.


The information in this blog is for general information purposes only and does not purport to be comprehensive or to provide legal advice. Whilst every effort is made to ensure the information and law is current as of the date of publication it should be stressed that, due to the passage of time, this does not necessarily reflect the present legal position. Gherson accepts no responsibility for loss which may arise from accessing or reliance on information contained in this blog. For formal advice on the current law please don’t hesitate to contact Gherson. Legal advice is only provided pursuant to a written agreement, identified as such, and signed by the client and by or on behalf of Gherson.

©Gherson 2019


Aurora Gherson 

  Aurora Gherson

  Trainee solicitor in our Corporate Team


Sasha Lal 

  Sasha Lal

  Consultant and trainee solicitor in our Corporate Team