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UK to end freedom of movement for EU citizens on day one of Brexit (independent.co.uk)
56 points by tosh 26 days ago | hide | past | web | favorite | 128 comments



FYI, The Independent has a reputation for writing ridiculous clickbait articles. When you look into the details things almost always turn out to be much less dramatic than the article made it sound.

See here for a response to this article: https://twitter.com/adamfleming/status/1163335442542059520

> As has been previously been made clear, in the event of no deal, EU citizens and their family members already resident in the UK by 31 October 2019 will be welcome to stay and we want them to do so. They are part of our community, and part of our country and we welcome the contribution that they make. If there is no deal, they will have until 31 December 2020 to apply to the EU Settlement Scheme to protect their status.


That's a very misleading quote.

The new Home Secretary wants to institute a different regime from day one of no deal, which deviates from original plans and creates a whole range of issues for EU nationals with and without settled status who are resident.

While it is aimed at voters to show that they'll be treating new arrivals differently, the systems and laws and all of the bodies that deal with EU nationals are not equipped to differentiate between existing residents and new arrivals.

Only about a third of EU nationals have applied for settled status and this new messaging from the incoming Home Secretary is saying the hostile environment measures must be eagerly applied to all EU nationals without it. Employers, landlords, banks, health service providers and border officials all have the burden to verify a person's legal status and the majority of EU nationals will be unable to demonstrate their status from day one. Their status furthermore isn't protected by primary legislation and for most people only amounts to being in a digital system that must be checked online.

Most parties involved in having to check resident's status is not trained in doing that, in so far it is even practicable from day one of no deal. And it most certainly will create discrimination, making it more likely that those that have a harder time demonstrating their rights will be unfairly rejected or skipped over, or be faced with additional burdens to prove status.

The real world consequences for people affected could be not finding a place to rent, being evicted, losing a bank account or being unable to open one, being denied health services or being asked to pay for services that should be free, being denied a job, being let go, or simply being skipped over by employers. This all can happen to people who have been in the UK for decades but are unable to easily demonstrate their status. This is not hypothetical stuff, this already happens but the occurrence would jump up by an order of magnitude as the result of the course taken here.


> The real world consequences for people affected could be not finding a place to rent, being evicted, losing a bank account or being unable to open one, being denied health services or being asked to pay for services that should be free, being denied a job, being let go, or simply being skipped over by employers. This all can happen to people who have been in the UK for decades but are unable to easily demonstrate their status. This is not hypothetical stuff, this already happens but the occurrence would jump up by an order of magnitude as the result of the course taken here.

Yup. This is setting up for Windrush fiasco all over again, just on a much larger scale.


This new messaging isn't saying that the hostile environment measures must be applied to all EU nationals - you're right that would be a much bigger deal, but there's nothing in the article saying that would happen. The existing plan is that employers, landlords and other third parties won't be asked to check the status of EU citizens until the end of 2020, and this doesn't change that - it just changes restrictions at the borders themselves. If there's ever an indication that will change you won't have to read between the lines to spot it because it'll be right there in the headlines.


Patel's stated intentions imply the extension of all of the hostile environment measures. She wants to end freedom of movement instantly, even though it had been presumed to be effectively applied for an interim period even with no deal and no transition. She wants to explicitly kill the notion of a grace period, which had been presumed to apply before.

The reporting is light on details, because the 'how' has not been drawn up yet. What has been newly decided is to immediately kill freedom of movement in practice. And the UK does most of its border controls behind the border, by making landlords, banks, hospitals and doctors do checks. Even if what Patel means to implement is purely what border officials at airports do to check people's status as they come in (and I very much doubt this is all she intends), it reinforces the message to employers, health service providers, banks and landlords that EU nationals are a higher liability if they turn out not to have the required status. The Govt may very well even advise landlords for instance that they won't hold them to account with the usual criminal penalties for accidentally renting to a EU national without settled status or other valid migration status, many landlords will simply eschew EU nationals going forward because it's safer. Messaging like this underlines that a EU ID is no longer a sufficient signal that a person is in all likelihood a legal resident and that a tough line is meant to be taken against EU nationals.


If only a third a third of the EU nationals applied it means they didn’t want to apply in the first place.

The whole process take about 15 minutes, especially if you have an social insurance number.


I applied and I was denied (even though I have almost ten year of continuous employment). After a few weeks they came back to me saying they made a mistake.

My wife, which has been in the country for the same time but has not been under continuous employment will have a much harder time proving residence status and will require going though ton of documentation.

The 15 minutes are a fiction.


Nobody should be pleased about applying in the first place, as it formalises a lesser status than people had previously.

And it may take 15 minutes if you have had continuous employment or have been drawing benefits with no gaps at all for five years AND they are able to verify that in an automated way. Hundreds of thousands will be spending much more time on their application. And although the overall process is pretty lenient and fairly well done, many people are going to have trouble with it.

If you fall under a less certain scenario, you may be reluctant to apply at all, because it doesn't guarantee you'll get approved and the consequences of not being approved are daunting.

Under no deal, failure to be accepted for settled status equates to being officially recognised as a resident with no workable legal status and that is a very, very bad place to be in. And if you don't apply by the end of 2020, you lose out altogether under current plans. Note that with 3 million EU citizens, plenty of people are simply not even aware of the consequences or the need to apply in the first place.


People have until end of 2020 to apply. Considering the mess and flip-flopping it is reasonable not to rush.


Or they don't intend to stay. I wonder what the consequences of a mass exodus would be.


Well, if the seas part and they walk across the channel then I'd say people would start taking note. But humour aside, those leaving have already done so and https://fullfact.org/immigration/eu-citizens-brexodus/


But humour aside, those leaving have already done so

It wasn't very funny and we don't really know what will happen.


They won't be able to leave because of the chaos on the EU/UK border after wild Brexit. Problem solved.


No, actually it's as big or bigger than the article suggests.

There is no longer the 2-year transition period in which EU workers can work in the UK, and UK workers work in the EU.

This means that existing working arrangements will be severely disrupted. Each week, there are hundreds of thousands of people crossing the border, a significant proportion of them for work, including providing on-site support services, training, professional engagements or just cross-channel commuting.


That 2-year transition period only applies in case of Brexit according to the negotiated deal.

In the absence of a deal it was always made clear that freedom of movement would end immediately or as soon as practical.

See [1] (published in January) about immigration in case of no deal Brexit.

[1] https://www.gov.uk/government/publications/eu-immigration-af...


That links to https://www.gov.uk/government/publications/eu-immigration-af... which also says:

> 5. Once free movement has ended from 31 October 2019(1), EU citizens and their family members arriving in the UK will be admitted under UK immigration rules and will require permission (leave to enter or remain). Unlike EU free movement, this will not be a rights-based system so those who do not hold valid immigration permission to be in the UK will be here unlawfully and may be liable to enforcement action. This is a crucial difference between UK immigration law and EU free movement law, which does not require permission from the Home Office for a person to be here lawfully.

So, what happens to an EU national who is ordinarily resident in the UK but has left briefly and is now returning to the UK? What exactly happens at the border? Which documents do they present to guarantee re-entry?

(You quote below the statement that they will be able to show an EU passport, but of course that does not constitute "valid immigration permission to be in the UK")


Read the 4th point fully.

> The information below is concerned with those EU citizens who arrive in the UK after exit, not those residing here before the UK withdraws from the EU.


And my question is: at the border, which document does an EU citizen present to distinguish between those two cases?


None, that's why this whole thing is a farce. Once you register for the Settlement Scheme you do get an email confirming that you did, that's all. But you don't legally have to apply for it until next year anyway, so you might have the full legal right to reside in the UK and not have any document to prove it.


A tiny minority of those that fall under the settled status scheme (non-EU family members of EU citizens) may possess a physical biometric card. The overwhelming majority have no document to present.


From https://www.gov.uk/settled-status-eu-citizens-families

"If your application is successful, a letter will be emailed to you confirming your settled or pre-settled status. The letter you get from the Home Office which confirms your status will include a link to an online service. You can use this service to view and prove your status."


Let me get this straight, your ability to re-enter the UK to be with your family depends on a URL printed on a piece of paper?


No, a URL in an emailed letter.

This is more about proving your status to employers and such. Border agents will, presumably, be able to see your status electronically through their own system.


Who says EU citizens will need a visa to enter the country?


EU citizens will almost certainly not need a visa to visit the UK, no matter what the final circumstances of Brexit.

However, like other countries that do not need a visa to visit the UK, border agents could still refuse entry if they believe (for example) you intend to seek work rather than just visit.


I.e. in practice there won't be any issue until they have proper procedures and documentation in place.


Are you absolutely bet-your-job sure about that? Because EU nationals will have to be.


There is no need to create panic.

They said EU citizens in the UK are welcome to stay and EU tourists will be welcome without visas, which is common sense, really.

Therefore I don't see the need to scare everyone. There are not going to start denying entry to EU citizens.

And I write this as an EU citizen in the UK.


I am glad that you, as an EU citizen in the UK, are not panicked.

However, in many cases the panic already exists, in no small part because the people running the UK refuse to be held to their own previous promises, even when it comes to what they want from Brexit.


Have they suggested that EU citizens would need a visa to enter the UK?

People would have a permanent residence certificate will have something to show.


Settlement Scheme is a permanent residence certificate(at least the email I got from the Home Office says so) and yet no certificate can actually be obtained from the home office for this. The border agent can go on gov.uk website and check I guess?


I am talking about the existing permanent resident status under EU law.

But the important point is the question I asked: have they suggested that a visa will be required to enter the country?

My understanding is that visa-free travel will continue so it should not really matter whether you can prove status.


>>But the important point is the question I asked: have they suggested that a visa will be required to enter the country?

They haven't. They are just saying that the free movement will end, meaning that as an EU citizen you don't have the automatic right to enter the UK....but no alternative was offered. EU citizens are inelligable for all UK visas right now anyway, because they are specifically worded in such a way and would need to be changed.

>>I am talking about the existing permanent resident status under EU law.

And this might be strange to some, but you can be totally elligable for the full settled status but not for the permanent residence card(I was in this exact situation - I have lived in the UK for 8 years, but the first 4 "don't count" towards the permanent residence status because I was a student without private health insurance(which was only added as a requirement after I started my studies) - but I still got the full Settled Status because that doesn't care why you were here, only if you lived here 5 years or more).

>>My understanding is that visa-free travel will continue so it should not really matter whether you can prove status.

Which again is an issue, because it might mean that legally you don't have the right to be here at all, it's just that the border controls are letting it slide for a while until some other system is put in place. Which causes a whole set of other issues, like this time not counting towards any citizenship application(or making it impossible in the first place, since you are here "illegally"), being unable to rent a place or use the NHS.


> student without private health insurance(which was only added as a requirement after I started my studies)

As I understand it, that was always a requirement due to the wording of the treaties (or regulations / directives).

It is just that UK government hadn't previously highlighted that they viewed NHS entitlement as not counting as "medical insurance".

There is supposed to be an ongoing dispute with the Commission over this point.

See here and links from it: https://www.freemovement.org.uk/comprehensive-sickness-insur...


"free movement" means something much deeper than visa-free travel.

Anyway, I think this is a storm in a teacup. In the circumstances EU citizens woild just be waved in as they are now until the dust settles and proper procedures are in place.

That wouldn't mean EU citizens would be here illegally either.


>>That wouldn't mean EU citizens would be here illegally either.

I have exactly ZERO trust that this is the interpretation that the government will take.

When I first tried applying for the permanent residence card, I was told that according to the home office

1) As an EU citizen you need to be exercising your "EU free movement rights" to be in the UK legally

2) If you are a student without private health insurance, you are not exercising your "EU free movement rights"

3) I spoke with multiple Home Office agents, some saying that it means that a student without private health insurance is here illegaly, others saying that no, an EU student without private health insurance is here legally, they are "just not exercising their EU free movement rights". No, they weren't able to explain what exactly they mean by that or which legislation says so.

This strikes me as the exact same situation. No, you don't have the right to be here, but at the same time, you do, but no, we can't point you to any law that would say so.


That's a huge long-running mess. The EU rules on free movement are written around the assumption that health care is insurance-based, and contain a rule stating that people must either be employed or have "comprehensive sickness insurance" in order to exercise that right for more then three months. This clashes badly with the UK's unique setup of healthcare for all that's free at the point of use. Other EU countries with "universal healthcare" are set up as state-run insurance schemes where you must either be employed or claiming one of a specific set of benefits to have healthcare, and this works fine with the EU rules - they can just charge an insurance fee to students from other EU states. Non-EU nationals residing in the UK pay a similar surcharge to fund their use of the NHS, but EU nationals can't be charged that because it technically isn't insurance. The European Commission's interpretation of the rules is that the NHS counts as comprehensive sickness insurance and every EU national who moves here should be able to get free healthcare forever even if they don't pay a penny; this would be fine if it wasn't for the fact that we're basically the only EU state that has to do this!

The right to permanent residence after five years is then restricted to "Union citizens and their family members who have resided in the host Member State in compliance with the conditions laid down in this Directive during a continuous period of five years". So it depends heavily on how those conditions are interpreted.


It is not unique. Italy (another large EU founding state) has pretty much exactly the same setup as UK.

edit: the Italian SSN (Servizio Sanitario Nazionale) was basically modeled on the NHS.


It is perfectly legal to enter the country and reside here as student.

But if you do not have health insurance this does not count towards gaining permanent residence (and thus citizenship thereafter).

If you need legal advice you should talk to a solicitor specialised in immigration law, not to a random person in a call centre.


I did actually, and the immigration lawyer I spoke to said that the home office is wrong about this, because the EU doesn't specify any such requirement - just that if you lived in a member country for 5 years you automatically get the right to permanent residence there. That's it. There are no further conditions attached. So UK breaks this law by requiring anything extra, but her advice was that yes, it is entirely possible to take the Home Office to court over this and win, it's just going to take a lot of time and money(and I had neither).

And besides, it's just not some random people in the call centre - Home Office's own website said that you only reside in the UK legally if you are exercising your free movement rights - I mean, that clearly reads to me as "if you don't, you are here illegally". It can't work both ways.


> just that if you lived in a member country for 5 years you automatically get the right to permanent residence there

No, you need to meet additional criteria. This is explicit in EU law [1] (and very well covered online), so I'm puzzled as to the advice you received.

Since you were looking for a legal references regarding students, note that [1] is also explicit that students should have "comprehensive sickness insurance cover" (the dispute here is whether access to NHS qualifies. UK government argues that it does not).

[1] Article 7 of https://eur-lex.europa.eu/legal-content/EN/TXT/?uri=CELEX%3A...


EU settlement scheme says that you need to present the document you used to obtain the residence through the settlement scheme.


School, doctor, home, job, taxes etc. that should leave a "paper" trail that can be looked up by officials.


There is no system for doing this, and I would not expect passport officials to be able to look up tax and medical records at the point of entry!


> I would not expect passport officials to be able to look up tax and medical records at the point of entry

Then you’ll be clearly surprised if you knew what all they can access crossing the border.


Do you have a citation for the claim that border agents can access tax or medical records?


Apologies for the slow response, was trying to find a source, but haven’t found one.

My comment was based on personal experience of going through secondary inspection with border agents in various countries. All of the FVEY countries share a frightening amount of information with each other’s border agents. I’m not specifically claiming they have medical records, but literally anything that is in a government database (I’m not being hyperbolic there, just prefer not to be specific as to what I’ve been shown on their screen that I felt they had no right to know) is accessible to them if the agent wants and knows how.


Seconding the request for info about this.


Considering the Windrush scandal the UK doesn't exactly have the best track record with dealing with immigration issues.

The authorities might - either conveniently or due to incompetence - lose relevant documents in the future, at which point you might not be able to prove anymore that you've already had a leave to stay in the UK before 31 October 2019.

This also might be used as leverage in upcoming negotiations with the EU.


Exactly. And if you ever plan for applying for citizenship in the future this brief period of legal limbo might stop you from getting it.


> FYI, The Independent has a reputation for writing ridiculous clickbait articles. When you look into the details things almost always turn out to be much less dramatic than the article made it sound.

While more reputable news sources have not yet picked up this story, if it is indeed true, there is a very marked difference between what is claimed in the article and what has been said by the government to date. The article claims that the Home Secretary will attempt to enact secondary legislation to end freedom of movement, while the gov.uk link in your tweet claims that it will be done ASAP through primary legislation.

If true this is an important difference as we likely won't know until close to the October 31st deadline whether no deal is actually going to happen (though it is clearly more of a risk now than ever), and it implies that the government plan not to wait until they achieve a majority in parliament for the bill to abolish freedom of movement, but instead plan to abolish it any way they can.


Not sure how exactly that gov.uk link is related to this as the article tells about a new plan so you should really dispute the article by providing evidence that the new home secretary doesn't want to impose anything different.


The whole point of this article is that your current, new, Home Secretary wants to change that policy.


But what about re-entry when coming back from abroad?


I'm in germany and I have a friend who lives here with his family, but they are still british citizens. So, from our side of the channel: Pretty much everyone in their situation has been contacted by the german government - temporary allowances of residences are prepared for this situation for everyone in their families. All they have to do after an exit is to go to their local citizens bureau in order to sign and collect the papers. After that, they are fine until a more permanent solution is found.

However, to answer your question: Coming back from abroad is a complicated thing, even from France inside the EU. Technically, after a hard brexit and without these temporary papers, they are citizens of a foreign nation and the german state has no diplomatic relationship with this state. As such, they could get detained or denied entry if they run into some kind of border control. As such, it is recommended to not leave the country while this is going on. This had tossed quite the wrench into their vacation plans.


You'll need to have applied for settled/pre-settled status, I'd imagine, unless an Irish citizen. And then ask the immigration officer to check gov.uk for you, because there's no actual legal paper or ID issued that you can carry with you.


> 10. Until 31 December 2020, EU citizens will be able to enter the UK by showing either a valid national identity card or a passport.


This gets increasing complicated with third-country dependants of EU citizens thrown into the mix. There are significant numbers of people in this situation living in the UK or entering on a regular basis. Brexit is a complete omnishambles and indicative of wider problems in British media and political discourse.


My girlfriend is greek. She has no stamps in her passport, I wouldn't have stamps in mine if I went to Greece. She's lived here for 8 years. Other than her landlord's vouch, or some bills registered to her address (which is only her phone bill and bank account iirc) she has no definitive proof she lives here. If she leaves the country to visit her parents, now there is a real chance she might be rejected coming back in.

We were talking about it last night and neither of us have a clue how you'd even go about getting a UK visa in an EU country. Yes, people who live here already and don't leave are "good" until 2020. However if this does go ahead there will be tens of thousands of people who cant (for example) go home and visit their parents over Christmas without a risk they might be told "nah" at the border.

I believe that in her specific case she can't get settled status as she (despite being here 8 years) had a period a few years ago where she worked on cruise ships so was out of the country for > 6 months.


She still can apply for pre-settled, and there would be no reason she couldn't get it if she has a national insurance number. I've been in the country only for 3 or 4 months and got pre-settled status within a day of applying.


Pre-settled wouldn't be a guaranteed re-entry to the UK though would it? Or have I got that wrong? I was under the impression settled only would be valid for re-entry (which is the problem, as the deadline is in a month and it takes 5 years to get this status)


"Pre-settled" is essentially the same as "settled" status – the plan was that either of these would allow entry into the UK after December 2020, when free movement from the EEA was supposed to end.

There is currently no system in place to allow re-entry for people with either "settled" or "pre-settled" status (that's why this announcement is mad.) But your girlfriend should 100% absolutely as soon as possible make sure she has pre-settled status.


Pre-settled allows you to come in and out of the country as long as you don't leave for more than 6 months per 12 months period.


Currently EEA citizens automatically gain "permanent resident" status after 5 years if they meet the conditions.

This can be proven by applying for a permanent residence card.

It has always been a sensible idea to keep evidence of residence and work in order to prove your status although it seems that a surprisingly large number of people never bothered.

In any case, I would think that anyone would have pay slips, P60s, council tax bills.


The conditions (iirc) require continuous residence with no more than 6 months abroad per year. As she worked on cruise ships she is shit out of luck.


There may well be exceptions for work placements which require you to be abroad; certainly in some some jurisdictions this would not be considered as actually living abroad. I suggest people in this situation have a close look at the rules.


Worth mentioning as well that at present the current visas for non-EU immigrants specifically preclude EEA citizens and as such EU citizens living in the UK aren't eligible for them regardless of anything else.


More information for people who aren't necessarily aware of the full details, because there's already some confusion in this thread.

Citizens of EU/EEA countries can currently travel to and work in other EU/EEA countries (including the UK) with essentially no restrictions. There are currently around 3 million citizens of other EU countries resident in the UK, taking advantage of freedom of movement to avoid the tedious, expensive, and time-consuming process of obtaining UK citizenship (or just never feeling the need).

A system has been introduced allowing these residents to apply for something called "settled" or "pre-settled" status, indicating that they are habitually resident in the UK. This will give them the ability to remain in the UK legally, eventually being able to obtain the appropriate long-term rights.

However, it's a virtual certainty that hundreds of thousands of these people will end up not being registered for various reasons. Additionally, there is AFAIK no process in place for performing checks using this system at the UK border. With the proposed approach, it's extremely likely that many people previously using free movement rights to travel between the UK and the rest of Europe will find themselves stuck in a limbo where they have been resident in the UK for a long time (and it's their home), but end up being unable to re-enter the country because they have no actual legal basis for that residency any more.

This wasn't expected to be an urgent problem, as previous plans for departure from the EU were to continue allowing EU/EEA citizens freedom of movement into the UK until December 2020, eventually implementing controls as systems became available. This change in policy makes this much more urgent; there are a variety of issues affecting people who travel a lot, particularly in the immediate aftermath.

The good news is that this approach will collapse in the face of reality because it's totally insane and will result in widespread chaos, and it's unlikely to even make it to the level of actual firm policy at any point.


Maybe chaos is what the UK government is aiming at this point. They are using EU residents as hostage to get what they want, not sure what that might be though.


Actually it is a flaw in Article 50 that for some mad reasons does not cater or address - displaced nationals. I raised this issue with the EU many times in 2015 and 2016 and 2017 and .... and since, they just didn't seem to care and their current stance is that it is now on their list of something to look into.

So for you to say that the UK is holding EU residents hostage is not only unfair, but very untrue.


Article 50 has many flaws and this is one of them. I am sure this will be revised through treaty change in due course, after Brexit is over. It's certainly not something to look at while it's in-progress.

The UK is very obviously attempting to bargain with the rights of UK-resident EU citizens. It is both totally fair and true to say so.


Article 50 is basically an acknowledgement that a state membership in the EU is solely a decision of that state and the EU cannot prevent it to leave. It is at best just a statement of principle, at worst a guarantee that a state will be bound against its will for no more than 2 years.

I do not think anybody actually expected the article 50 to be triggered. I think that most expected that event of as state leaving I think the an ad-hoc solution would have been found. Instead UK immediately triggered it with no preparation.

Expecting to unwind 50 years of deep entanglement in 2 years was always a delusion.


Agreed, any change now would be futile, just irks me how the issue was fully known and raised for years prior to the UK acting A50.

The UK is not obviously attempting to bargain with rights at all when they have were the first to make displaced nationals rights known whatever the outcome and the same has yet to be codified with other members as the EU has no single rule to cover them.

https://www.instituteforgovernment.org.uk/explainers/british...


> I am sure [that Article 50's flaws] will be revised through treaty change in due course, after Brexit is over.

What makes you think that? It's in the best interest of the EU administration to make leaving the EU as painful as possible.


Two sides of a coin:

Heads: If leaving is an inherently good thing to do, then the EU had already failed.

Tails: If the EU has not failed, leaving is inherently a bad thing to do.

There is no need for the EU to do more than look after its own interests. One of those interests would, I suspect, be a treaty modification to make permanent and standard the balance-of-payment mechanism which has enraged many Leave supporters.


Note that I said "the EU administration", not "the EU".


I don’t understand the point of the distinction. The EU is administered by representatives from each member state, either by votes from the public or appointed by the governments of each member state.


>> They are using EU residents as hostage to get what they want, not sure what that might be though

I mean, clearly the government's policy of threatening the EU with a no-deal brexit is just not working, so the next stop is using EU citizens as bargaining chips(I remember saying this 3 years ago, that we will end up being used for exactly this purpose once the time comes. I don't know whether I should start packing my bags now or later, the anxiety level is just through he roof at the moment).


Edit: bad information, I stand corrected


Untrue - there are 1.3m UK nationals living in the EU and about 3.7m EU nationals living in the UK.

https://www.ons.gov.uk/peoplepopulationandcommunity/populati...

https://fullfact.org/europe/how-many-uk-citizens-live-other-...


Thanks, I had found a different older source but the numbers are similar https://www.pewresearch.org/global/interactives/origins-dest...

Still it's a non-negligible number


Yeah, this is the other unacnowledged problem. There's a lot of retired Brits in Spain that might find themselves vulnerable to retaliation if the UK starts deporting Spanish nationals.


When you amend your post, can you please leave the original text there as well? As it is now, it's hard to follow the discussion.


If this is the case, this has interesting knock-on effects for a number of things.

1) this would mean that the government (executive) would need to bring in primary legislation to allow EU citizens to continue to work and live in the UK. (those who have registered I think would be ok. I'm grateful for corrections on this point though) This is something they have promised, but not actually delivered (Which I suspect will be running theme.)

2) haulage companies would need to change drivers (and probably truck) at the border (possibly the EU side, which would be interesting, as I'm not sure how haulage licenses work in practice. I know multidrop/mixed purpose [as in deliver x and pickup y are expressly not allowed])

3) as far as I'm aware, any truck driver delivering stuff would need a temporary work visa, which requires a sponsor and load of cash and time (The first is difficult, the last in very short supply.)

If anyone has links to legislation that contradicts this, I'm all ears.


Everyone in my facebook groups have been freaking about is how they're actually going to implement it. Anyone arriving the week of the 31st of October has no way of proving they did so. Even if you have applied as pre-settled or settled there's no physical paper or stamp or anything that you can show to an immigration officer. There's only a government page where you can check your status. I honestly don't know how they're going to control their borders.



That was the previous approach mentioned in the article, which is now dead as the bill likely wouldn't get through the House of Commons.



I wonder what will be the effect of this move.

Are wages going to shoot up immediately because of labor shortage?


It will be dependent on what business we are talking about.

If the margin of profit is like low single digit, the labour cost rises too fast will just lead to the business to shut down. In more profitable business though, what you said might happen, like software engineering I would guess. Or the position goes remote.


What does it mean to a student who is in the UK for studies and wants to work for an English company immediately after graduation? Will they've to move back to their own country?


I wonder if this will give another push for "work anywhere" (eg: IT) firms to open an office in Ireland?


If I'm not mistaken this is what both sides always said would happen in case of no deal.


Up until this announcement:

"…temporary transitional arrangements will apply from 31 October 2019 to provide some continuity for EU citizens and businesses in the UK. The transition period will be in place until 31 December 2020."

This was essentially "continue free movement for a bit until we get a new immigration system in place". This announcement suggests that this is no longer the case. It's unlikely to happen because it will be literal chaos, but it's important not to underestimate the incompetence of the current UK government.


I believe you are quoting from [1].

The document from January very clearly states that free movement would end immediately (or as soon as practicle) in case of no deal.

E.g. "5. Once free movement has ended from 31 October 2019"

As I wrote previously this is nothing new.

The transitional arrangements are for EEA citizens already in the UK, and I haven't read anything that suggests they want to change that.

[1] https://www.gov.uk/government/publications/eu-immigration-af...


That's the correct document, but I don't think your interpretation makes sense. The "settled status" scheme is already in place for EEA citizens, and this is not the "temporary transitional arrangements" being referred to in that paragraph. This section of the document is about "ending free movement," and free movement is the thing to which "temporary transitional arrangements" will apply.

This is supported by earlier statements from the former Home Secretary Said Javid: "If there's a no-deal, we won’t be able to immediately distinguish between those Europeans that were already here before March 29, and those who came after – and therefore, as a result, I wouldn’t expect employers to do anything different than they do today. There will need to be some kind of sensible transition period. I mean, these are the kinds of things I’ve been working on for months and months."


It's not my interpretation. It's is plainly written: freedom of movement ends.

Now, some people assume that this means EU citizens are immediately kicked out. That's obviously not the case, hence this "transitional period".


I appreciate you have taken that impression, but you're missing the important point that this is a change in policy.

The policy document says that "freedom of movement" ends – you are correct that it is written plainly, and it is technically correct - freedom of movement rights under EU law will end.

However, the position of the previous government was that EEA citizens would be able to continue to freely enter the UK for the transitional period—even if no deal was secured—up until December 2020. That means that while "freedom of movement" as an EU-granted right would end, there would still be effective "freedom of movement" into the UK for EU workers, explicitly because there will be no system in place to differentiate between UK-resident and non-UK-resident EU citizens at the border.

The transitional period applies to immigration into the UK while the new "skills-based immigration system" is implemented. You can see this from the policy document:

"The details of the UK’s future skills-based immigration system are set out in a white paper published on 19 December 2018. It will take some time to implement this new system… therefore, temporary transitional arrangements will apply from 31 October 2019… The transition period will be in place until 31 December 2020."

The paragraph immediately above says:

"The information below is concerned with those EU citizens who arrive in the UK after exit, not those residing here before the UK withdraws from the EU."

This is explicitly not to do with EU citizens who are already resident in the UK.


So now we agree that freedom of movement will immediately end, as always expected.

Nothing in what they have just said implies that the "temporary transitional arrangements" will no longer exist.

The only worry, which is real, is that the government may not have time to set them up.

I don't see that as a change of policy, more like posturing by the government before a new negotiation push, and over the top reaction from the opposition.


This is just to push the EU into a position where it's more willing to negotiate.


The EU have offered the best they can given the UK negotiation red-lines. It's not an adversarial negotiation, it's a future partnership.


The fact that the UK government isn’t able to understand the inherent contradiction in “controlling your borders” and having an “open border” is remarkable.

Further, that they insist this contribution can be solved by “future technology” but cannot actually point to any such future technology only adds to the farce.


I'm sure that they understand it, but they also understand that they need to preserve their electoral base while also preserving the economy.


Unfortunately the average UK Politicos (apart from a few like @ChiOnwurah) knowledge of the Blinky light machines is tenuous at best.


Notice how differently you've framed the two sides' complete unwillingness to budge - the EU magnanimously "offered the best they can" whilst the UK had "negotiation red-lines" they're stubbonly refusing to budge on. In reality, they're both the same thing - both sides have lines they're unwilling to cross based on their own interests and what actually stands a chance of passing. It's just that the press has spent the last few years spinning the EU negotiating position as some kind of blameless, inevitable natural law and the UK negotiating postion as a fallable human delusion.


Complete tosh. The issue isn't the redlines per se, the issue is that the UK redlines are completely contradictory to logic. We cannot keep NI borderless with RoI and the UK borderless with NI, while at the same time pursuing our own regulatory and customs regime, without massive problems in both governance and enforcement.

It's just not possible logically, and efforts to paint it as a 'both sides' problem is completely dishonest.


This is a complete moscharacterization of what happened.

The elected representatives of the EU and the UK agreed to a deal. A deal in which the EU compromised a lot (the backstop applying to the entire UK was a UK demand, insisted upon by May to retain DUP support).

That agreed upon deal was then ratified by the EU parliament, but rejected by the UK parliament.

Considering the UK is the party that is rejecting the deal, one would imagine they would be the ones responsible for at the very least stating what they want. But they cannot do that because there is no version of Brexit that has majority support. If they move in one direction away from the deal, they lose left wing votes while gaining fewer right wing votes. If they move in the other direction, they gain a few right wing votes, while losing more left wing votes.

That’s why the UK has constantly insisted the EU compromise, without ever explaining what that compromise should look like (other than, no backstop, which then raises the impossible desire to both maintain an open border between Ireland and NI, while the UK insists on controlling its borders and having a different customs regime on one side of that border).

It’s stupid, and the UK’spoliticians are entirely at fault here. The EU has been compromising to a fault, honestly. They should have listened to Macron and not extended the deadline. At least you wouldn’t have an incompetent lying charlatan leading the UK during Brexit. You’d only have an incompetent leading the UK.


You sure about that? As far as I know the European Parliament never actually ratified the deal. They'd cannily scheduled their vote after the UK parliament's vote and last I'd heard they hadn't bothered going ahead with the vote after the UK rejected it, though that may have changed. It's possible that the EU parliament would've rejected it. Perhaps unlikely, as we saw with the copyright directive it's pretty hard to convince them to ever block something, but it's certainly possible - especially when it involves something that's so different from what the EU normally does.


What realistic concessions could the EU offer? No possible offer could get through the current UK parliament while we're so dysfunctional.


Realistically, I don't think the EU is going to offer any concessions that would solve the problems that parliament has with it, but that doesn't mean the problems aren't real. In particular, the current offer trashes the part of the Good Friday Agreement which the government's current coalition partner cares about by eroding Northern Ireland's status as part of the UK, and the backstop tramples on the constitutional requirement that no parliament may bind its successor by tying us to the EU until they permit us to leave. The EU seems to think that the Good Friday Agreement consists of only the parts which help them, and the only way out of the backstop problem was to make the GFA problem much worse.

We can't just solve this by deciding the EU is impossible to leave and giving up either, because again there's that pesky bit in the constitution about parliaments not being able to bind their successors. Whilst we have other international commitments about stuff like war crimes which could technically be argued to violate this, irrevocably transferring the power to create laws across many areas to a foreign body goes right to the core of what it's meant to prevent. Clever arguments about how we could technically leave, it's just not possible in practice don't solve this - our constitution is based on principles, it's not computer code where if you find a way around the literal rules you can get through.


The backstop extending to the UK was a UK requirement.

And the backstop bonds the hands of a future parliament as much as any international agreement does. That’s a completely ridiculous argument. The backstop isn’t magically more powerful than any other treaty a country may sign and have their parliaments approve.


The backstop extending to the UK was something Theresa May came up with as a compromise to reduce the problems with the Good Friday Agreement and hopefully make it more acceptable to the DUP than what the EU came up with originally. Which is why, as I said, we could've avoided it but only at the cost of making that other problem worse. It also ended Theresa May's career and lead to the most spectacular rejection of a key government bill by Parliament in its entire history.

Also, most of the international agreements the UK has signed up to are unilaterally revokable - unlike the backstop - for pretty much that reason. There's a few exceptions, but the ones I've seen Brexit opponents cite are things like war crimes restrictions, not giving up control over most of out domestic laws.

Americans should also bear in mind that the rule against parliaments binding their successors is the only protection against (say) a party voting to transfer law-making power to a body they think will be more pro-business than the opposition. There's no requirement for a supermajority or a referendum, as would be required to amend your country's constitution. (In fact we don't even have a codified constitution that can be amended!) Our joining the EU scraped through the House of Commons with a 50.7% majority basically on the whim of one party.


Doesn’t the GFA itself have no exit clause?


> The EU have offered the best they can given the UK negotiation red-lines.

I think this should be:

The EU have offered the best [deal they want] given the UK negotiation red-lines [and the UK's lack of leverage].

The UK may have a relatively strong economy as a Country, but it's currently against the EU super state in the negotiations. The EU has most of the power when brokering a deal and this is just one small step towards making the negotiation table more even.

> It's not an adversarial negotiation, it's a future partnership.

Every political engagement is adversarial, there is of course common grounds, but each side wants to 'win'. The EU wants to remove all incentive for other member states to leave to safe guard its own future existence as a super state.


> The EU wants to remove all incentive for other member states to leave to safe guard its own future existence as a super state.

I really disagree with that. A dysfunctional EU is worse than for the EU than countries leaving.

The EU could do far more to "punish" the UK. So far they've been quite accommodating, like agreeing to keep the entire UK in the customs union for the backstop rather than splitting NI and GB.


> I really disagree with that. A dysfunctional EU is worse than for the EU than countries leaving.

I agree that a dysfunctional EU is something they want to avoid, but I think that's exactly why they want to prevent other Countries from leaving. A dysfunctional EU is one without lots of member states (therefore lots of power + economy). Given that member states currently have so very little individual veto control, you need to have a majority of states (or elected persons) acting in bad faith for them really to become a problem.

> The EU could do far more to "punish" the UK.

Maybe, but possibly not without spooking other member states. I think the UK's only saving grace is that everybody is watching very closely.

> So far they've been quite accommodating, like agreeing to keep the entire UK in the customs union for the backstop rather than splitting NI and GB.

If you look at the deal offered it's effectively membership without the power to vote, that sounds great from the EU's perspective, two birds with one stone.


The EU also had huge red-lines. And instead of pressuring weaker partners, the EU might have done better to be more pragmatic and welcoming.


Huh? The EU has done loads for its weaker partners in the Brexit negotiations. Ireland is a small Member State that is having its interests protected by the EU. That's the entire reason for the EU insisting on protecting the current borderless arrangement between NI and RoI. For Ireland, membership in the EU is worth more than its weight in gold.


Hey Vsauce, Michael here! How much does a membership in the EU... weigh?


Ah just like the scene in Blazing Saddles where the sheriff holds the gun to his own head.


Holding millions of EU nationals hostage is a grossly immoral way to do that. And it's not likely to be effective either.


> Holding millions of EU nationals hostage is a grossly immoral way to do that.

Firstly, there will be accommodations for existing EU immigrants, read the actual government website and not some jumped up news article [1].

Secondly, I agree holding people hostage is immoral, but you're conveniently forgetting the Irish backstop clause.

> And it's not likely to be effective either.

Thirdly, the idea of negotiations is that both sides have something the other side wants to negotiate about. So far negotiations have been very one-sided, with the UK wanting to continue negotiations and the EU cutting it off completely (hence May submitting the same deal three times to parliament despite demands made to change it). The idea of having a large stick is not having to using it, but sometimes it's needed to encourage the donkey to move.

[1] https://www.gov.uk/government/publications/eu-immigration-af...


> Irish backstop clause.

What about it? This was a British government proposal in the first place. https://www.irishtimes.com/business/economy/the-backstop-was... / https://www.instituteforgovernment.org.uk/explainers/norther...

And it doesn't hold anyone hostage, but the reverse: it guarantees freedom for people affected by the border with Ireland.


> What about it? This was a British government proposal in the first place.

I know the UK wanted to prevent a harder border, but I'm not sure who was specifically responsible for the final wording [1].

In my opinion one of the greatest issues was:

> In the absence of agreed solutions, the United Kingdom will maintain full alignment with those rules of the Internal Market and the Customs Union [..]

Essentially meaning that unless the UK is able to come to terms that the EU agree on, the UK could be forced to implement all laws as dictated by the EU. (Remember, the purpose of the EU was for trade, so technically that means all laws, not just those related to trade.) The only way out of this is potentially a hard border, something they really don't want either. All the EU has to do is to reject all deals offered by the UK and the UK has to remain a silent paying member state indefinitely.

There is of course the point that no parliament can bind a future parliament to any agreement, but this has consequences for market stability too.

[1] https://en.wikipedia.org/wiki/Irish_backstop#Initial_Backsto...


They are not hostages. Or anything. They will jusy have to return to their home countries. There is no mention of UK forcing them to stay/preventing outbound movement.

It is a mess, but if UK has to leave that is the only way. And some UK citizens will return home.


Many of them are married to British nationals. They may be ineligible to remain here while their spouses may be ineligible to move to Europe. At the very least the act of moving internationally at short notice without a guaranteed job is a hugely expensive thing to inflict on people.

> but if UK has to leave that is the only way.

No it absolutely fucking is not. The UK government has always had the option of treating them better and chosen not to do it. Being hostile to immigration is a choice. Ending free movement is a choice; the UK is not required to end free movement to leave the EU (see Norway).


Ok. It is the only way for UK since EU refuses to give them the exit deal they want.

Also marriage is almost universal reason worldwide for permenant residence. So the people married to UK nationals will eventually be able to get permanent residence in UK and vice versa.


It's not automatic: there are minimum income requirements, and a number of other eligibility criteria.

And again, not getting what you want is not an excuse for inflicting hardship on innocent bystanders.




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