Since entering Downing Street last summer, Prime Minister Boris Johnson has always maintained that the UK will not ask the EU for an extension to the Brexit transition period. However, given the current COVID-19 pandemic, many have questioned whether the option for an extension should be reviewed. On 15 June 2020, European Commission President Ursula von der Leyen and the Prime Minister formally agreed that the transition period will not be extended beyond the previously agreed date of 31 December 2020.
The transition period was established to enable the UK to negotiate a free trade agreement with the EU whilst maintaining its membership of the bloc. However, the recent statement on there being no extension means that the UK will have just under six months to strike a deal with the EU in order to avoid Britain leaving without one. Despite the first ministers of Scotland and Wales (Nicola Sturgeon and Mark Drakeford) labelling the move “extraordinarily reckless”, especially amid the effects of the coronavirus pandemic, Cabinet Office minister Michael Gove reassured the public that the decision was made after careful consideration and said the UK would now phase in changes so businesses hit by the pandemic would have “time to adjust”.
What could this mean for UK immigration? EEA nationals and their family members hoping to move to the UK and apply for pre-settled status will need to reside in the UK prior to the end of the transitional period (31 December 2020). Due to the coronavirus pandemic, many have chosen to reduce their international travel to a bare minimum for fear of catching and spreading the virus. This means that those wishing to apply for pre-settled status may simply not be able to enter the UK for residence purposes until after 31 December 2020, thus putting themselves in the position of being unable to qualify before the deadline and being required to apply under the new Points Based System which is planned to take effect from 1 January 2021.
Given that the news regarding the transitional period has only recently been announced, we will be monitoring developments and will publish further blogs on any relevant immigration/visa rule changes that may provide a solution to the above situation. Should you wish to discuss your own UK immigration matters, please do not hesitate to Contact 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.