The End of Freedom of Movement

October 10th, 2019

freedom of movement

A no-deal scenario

Freedom of Movement is due to end in the United Kingdom on 31st October 2019.  As with everything Brexit related, this is not certain.  At the time of writing, no Brexit deal has been reached between the UK and the European Union.  The UK’s deadline may be extended again, a deal secured, or the Article 50 act which initiated Brexit revoked.  However, though all options remain on the table, the table itself is No Deal.  The UK not agreeing a deal with the EU is still the most likely outcome and the end of October is the earliest this may come into effect.

Any US business looking to enter the UK or EU and operate will be monitoring this situation closely.  Firstly, those businesses using our PeopleLogik service can be reassured that Briars specialists will continue to monitor legislative changes and facilitate our client’s continued ability to trade.   Secondly, as the coverage of this topic is often highly charged, it is worth taking a closer look at what changes will occur and when, to help separate the knowns from the unknowns.

What we know

The Home Office is keen to refute the claim that EU citizens in the UK will be left in “legal limbo” on 31st October.  Their advice states that All EU citizens (and their families) living in the UK prior to 31 October 2019 will be eligible to remain and apply for residency through the EU Settlement Scheme.

There are no changes to the deadline to apply to the EU Settlement Scheme, which remains 31st December 2020.  This scheme will enable them to continue to reside in the UK. An individual can apply for pre-settled status (if they have spent less than 5 years in the UK) or settled status (if they have spent more than 5 years in the UK).  Any European national or their family members who enter the UK after 31st October 2019 and cannot show proof of residence in the UK prior to 31st October 2019, will only be able to come to the UK on a short-term basis.

This is hopefully reassuring news for international businesses and their employees already operating in the UK.  However, even for these businesses, employment is never static, and employees will need to move location at certain times.  The HR departments of businesses looking to enter the UK or EU at this moment will also be keen to understand any impending changes to UK immigration and visas.

How we deal with what we don’t know

Unfortunately, this is where the certainty runs out.  Though an Australian style points-based immigration system is the UK government’s preferred option, plans have not yet been set out.  An independent Migration Advisory Committee is being commissioned by the Home Secretary to examine this proposal, but there are no definite answers to questions on immigration at this point.  Fortunately, this is where Briars Group can help.

Briars’ PeopleLogik service assists businesses looking to land and expand in the UK , the EU, and across the globe. It provides an ideal solution for situations such as this – we employ your chosen staff so that you don’t have to.  Conventional PEO does not work in every international situation, but Briars Group boasts 25 years’ experience in International PEO which provides a distinct edge and allows our specialists to successfully navigate a shifting legislative landscape on a client’s behalf.

To find out more about how PeopleLogik could help you grow your business overseas in the UK or EU at any time, please contact us here.

Kate Jolly

Kate co-founded Briars in 1991 with Andrew Brierley. She specialised in tax law and today continues to advise clients on international operations, particularly land, expand and exit! In her spare time Kate is a Past Master of the City of London Guild of Entrepreneurs and a Director of CCARHT (Cambridge Centre for Applied Research into Human Trafficking).