Immigration weekly update: January 28, 2020

U.K.: Countdown to Brexit

On Jan. 23 the Withdrawal Agreement Bill (WAB) received Royal Assent. The following day, European Union (EU) council officials signed the WAB in Brussels paving the way for full ratification. As a result, the U.K. will cease to be a member of the EU at 11 p.m. on Jan. 31, 2020.


Under the WAB the U.K. will enter a transition period that lasts until Dec. 31, 2020. Free movement will continue and the U.K. can implement a future relationship with the EU (including immigration) during this period.

Please note there is still risk of a no-deal scenario after the transition period.

EU citizens in the U.K.

EU citizens and their family members who arrive before Dec. 31, 2020, will have the right to live and work in the U.K.. They can apply for the EU Settlement Scheme before June 31, 2021. Those in a relationship with an EU citizen before the end of the transition period will be able to join them in the U.K. at any point in the future.

EU citizens and their family members arriving in the U.K. after Jan. 1, 2021, will need to qualify under a new set of immigration rules.

Even if no future agreement is reached, companies with already U.K.-based EU employees will not be affected.

British citizens in the EU

U.K. nationals’ and their family members’ rights will be protected if they reside in the EU before the end of the transition period. They will need to comply with the schemes and/or regulations of the relevant EU country.

Looking ahead

  • U.K. employers are advised to audit staff records to identify EU citizens and their family members. This identification will also allow employers to support EU members when they are required to apply for the EU Settlement Scheme.
  • To plan for post-Brexit and understand staffing requirements, U.K. employers are advised to analyze the structure of current workforces.
  • We advise to bring forward any planned assignments to the U.K. so they can commence before, Dec. 31, 2020.
  • U.K. employers may continue to retain evidence of EU nationals’ right to work, e.g. passport copy or ID documentation, until June 2021. Please note additional proof of immigration status from EU citizens is not necessary.

This summary was prepared using information obtained from (EU citizens), (prepare for Brexit), Institute for Government and UK Parliament.

Disclaimer: The above information is provided for general information purposes only and should not be construed as legal advice. If you have any further inquiries regarding the applicability of this information, please contact Laxmi Vikraman, Regional Immigration Manager, EMEA. 

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