UK rejects EU free movement offer under the Youth Mobility Scheme

13 May 2024, 01 mins ago

The European Commission’s offer to open negotiations for an EU Youth Mobility Scheme has been rejected by the UK.

The Youth Mobility Scheme (“YMS”) is a UK visa designed for individuals aged between 18 to 30 or 18 to 35, depending on their nationality, allowing them to live and work in the UK for up to 2 years.

At the moment, the scheme is only open to nationals from a limited number of countries including Australia, Canada, New Zealand and South Korea, amongst others. The YMS visa cannot be extended, but it is granted for two years, thus allowing its holders sufficient time to find a more permanent set-up and switch to another visa route, for example, a Skilled Worker visa.

The proposal from the European Commission to open this scheme to European nationals has been rejected on the basis that “free movement within the EU has ended”, as stated by No. 10. Downing Street has further added that they prefer to have country-by-country deals rather than an agreement that will apply to all 27 member states.

Following Brexit, the UK officially left the EU on 31 January 2020, with the so-called transition period closing on 31 December 2020. As part of the transition, the Home Office introduced the EU Settlement Scheme (“EUSS”) enabling EU, EEA and Swiss nationals, as well as their dependants, to apply for either Pre-Settled or Settled status to lawfully reside in the UK. The general deadline to apply under the EUSS scheme passed on 30 June 2021; however, some late applications are still being accepted.

In light of the existing EUSS scheme, it is unlikely that a new YMS scheme for EU nationals will be implemented in the foreseeable future.

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