European Union: Brexit Date Moved To January 31, 2020; United Kingdom Will Not Hold General Election

Last Updated: November 8 2019
Article by Fragomen  

At a Glance

  • UK and EU government representatives agreed to further postpone the United Kingdom's exit from the European Union until January 31, 2020.
  • This could change if both the United Kingdom and the European Union ratify the Withdrawal Agreement before then. In that case, the United Kingdom would leave the European Union the first day of the following month.
  • During the extension, the United Kingdom will remain a member of the European Union and UK nationals will continue to benefit from the rights provided to EU nationals, meaning they will not need work permits to work in EU countries.
  • As a result of the extension, the UK Parliament has again rejected the Prime Minister's request for a general election on December 12, 2019.
  • Last week, the UK introduced legislation before Parliament to regulate entry to and stay in the United Kingdom for European Economic Area nationals which would go into effect in the event of a no-deal Brexit. The legislation specified that it would come into force on October 31, 2019, however this is highly unlikely since Brexit has been postponed.

The situation

UK and EU government representatives agreed to further postpone the United Kingdom's exit from the European Union until January 31, 2020.

Brexit date moved

If both the United Kingdom and the European Union ratify the Withdrawal Agreement before January 31, 2020, the United Kingdom would leave the European Union the first day of the following month.

General Election

As a result of the European Union's agreement to postpone Brexit, the Prime Minister, Boris Johnson, has requested that the UK Parliament agree to hold a General Election on December 12, 2019. This request was rejected by Parliament on October 28, 2019.

To date, the lack of progress made by the Withdrawal Agreement Bill (which governs the terms of the United Kingdom's exit from the European Union) through the UK Parliament has had the consequence of delaying Brexit.

The alternative option of leaving the European Union without a deal has been challenged a number of times and rejected by Parliament. Therefore, currently Parliament cannot agree on a deal, nor will they agree to the United Kingdom leaving the European Union without a deal and therefore a date for the United Kingdom's exit from the European Union cannot be finalized.

Impacts of an extension to Brexit and a General Election being rejected

  • Impact for employers. An extension to the United Kingdom's exit from the European Union prolongs the period of uncertainty for businesses but does allow more time for post-Brexit planning.
  • Impact for EU nationals in the United Kingdom. Eligible EU nationals and their family members are advised to register under the EU Settlement Scheme.
  • Impact for UK nationals in Europe. During the extension, the United Kingdom will remain a member of the European Union and UK nationals can continue to enjoy freedom of movement. UK nationals and their family will benefit from more time to complete necessary registrations and applications and prepare supporting documents needed in the event of Brexit.

Fragomen will continue to update clients on key political developments that may impact the likely outcome of Brexit.

Legislation in no-deal Brexit scenario

In related news, the UK government introduced legislation which formalizes an earlier report regulating entry to and stay in the United Kingdom for European Economic Area (EEA) nationals in the event that a no-deal Brexit occurs. Key points include:

  • European Temporary Leave to Remain Scheme. As previously announced, the European Temporary Leave to Remain Scheme (Euro TLR) will act as a bridging immigration category and apply to EEA nationals and their immediate family members who move to the United Kingdom after a no-deal Brexit and before the introduction of the new immigration system in January 2021.
    • Impact. Eligible nationals will be able to apply for Euro TLR at no cost and receive confirmation of their right to live and work in the United Kingdom, which will allow employers to avoid any disruption in hiring EEA nationals and allow EEA nationals and their immediate family members to maintain a status where they can work and live in the United Kingdom.
  • Immigration (Amendment) (EU Exit) Regulations 2019. The new regulations, which would be implemented on exit day in a no-deal scenario, address inconsistencies or gaps that would arise in the Immigration (EEA) Regulations 2016 after exit day. In order to do so, the 2016 regulations governing the pre-Brexit system for EEA nationals and their family members to confirm their status in the United Kingdom will be retained for the short-term.
    • Impact. Anticipated gaps have been addressed within legislation governing EEA nationals, which could have caused major disruptions in these foreign nationals' abilities to enter stay and work in the United Kingdom.

Background

  • General elections. Prime Minister Boris Johnson pushed for a vote in the House of Commons to trigger an early general election, believing that this would resolve the deadlock that has prevented the United Kingdom from ratifying a Withdrawal Agreement.
  • EEA legislation. The EEA legislation came about in order to address discrepancies that would arise within UK law governing the right of EEA nationals to enter and stay in the United Kingdom in the event of a no-deal Brexit.

Looking ahead

Fragomen will be closely monitoring the developments and provide commentary and analysis. Many EU countries have published contingency plans for UK nationals in case of a no-deal Brexit.

Brexit has been an incredibly complex and uncertain political issue that carries risk to your business. Please contact a Fragomen professional for assistance in planning arrangements in a single project.

The content of this article is intended to provide a general guide to the subject matter. Specialist advice should be sought about your specific circumstances.

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