Key Post-Brexit Milestone and Deadlines Which Will Impact UK Immigration From 2021-2028
While the UK formally exited the European Union at the start of 2021, anyone who believed that the matter was over and done with will be sorely disappointed. This is because there are numerous transitionary milestones and deadlines baked into the Brexit deal, which span between 2021 and 2028, covering a wide range of matters from energy, customs declarations, trade, financial services, data, fishing, and many more. In this article, we will discuss some of the key post-Brexit milestones and deadlines which will impact UK immigration from 2021 to 2028.
2021: Ending of the EU Settlement Scheme (EUSS)
One of the key deadlines affecting migrants to the UK from the EU has already come and gone. The 31st June 2021 was the final date for applications to the EU Settlement Scheme (EUSS), although, as we have explained in other articles, the scheme is technically still open for late applications and those who received pre-settled status and have five years to secure full settled status. Thankfully, for the remainder of 2021, the post-Brexit deadlines and milestones relate to non-immigration matters.
2022: UK nationals right to return to the UK with EU or non-EU national family members without being subject to minimum income requirements
Prior to 30th March 2022, close family members (i.e., spouses/children) of British citizens moving to the UK before the end of March 2022 do not require a family visa under the UK’s Immigration Rules, but they will need to apply to the EUSS.
The current EUSS application guidelines state:
“The deadline for you to return to the UK depends on your relationship with your British family member. You must return and apply by 29th March 2022 if you’re there:
- spouse, civil partner, or unmarried partner, and your relationship started before 1st February 2020
- child, grandchild, or great-grandchild under 21 years old
- dependent child, grandchild, or great-grandchild over 21 years old
- dependent parent, grandparent or great-grandparent”.
From 30th March 2022, family members will need to apply for a family visa, and hence the minimum income requirements (£18,600 per year) will apply. A government policy paper from April 2019 stated, “We understand that UK nationals are concerned about their right to return from the EU with their EU or non-EU national family members after exit. Having listened to these concerns, we will ensure that UK nationals, their children, and other existing close family members can return to the UK under current rules until 29th March 2022. This means that existing close family members, such as children, spouses, partners, parents, and grandparents, where the relationship existed on exit day (or where a child was born overseas after this date) and continues to exist when they seek to return will be able to apply to and qualify for the EU Settlement Scheme. After 29th March 2022, such family members will be able to return to the UK by applying through the applicable UK Immigration Rules”.
2025: EU national ID cards may no longer be valid for entry to the UK
For now, the Home Office’s current guidance states that EU nationals in the following scenarios can continue to use their national ID card to enter the UK, but this is expected to end at the end of 2025:
- have settled or pre-settled status under the EU Settlement Scheme
- applied to the EU Settlement Scheme by 30th June 2021 but have not received a decision yet
- have an EU Settlement Scheme family permit
- have a frontier worker permit
- are an S2 Healthcare Visitor
- are a Swiss national and have a Service Provider from Switzerland visa
The guidance states, “In these cases, you can continue to use your national ID card to enter the UK until at least 31st December 2025”.
2028: UK courts will no longer have the power to send preliminary references to the Court of Justice of the EU (CJEU)
Under the Brexit Withdrawal Agreement, the CJEU no longer has general jurisdiction over the UK after 1st January 2021. This does not mean that the CJEU has no influence, however. Under the terms of the present Brexit agreement, UK courts can continue to send questions relating to the rights of EU citizens in the UK to the CJEU until 2028. Only at this point will the CJEU no longer have a say over the rights of EU citizens living in the UK. The House of Commons briefing paper drafted in February 2020 on this matter explains:
“The Court of Justice of the EU (CJEU) interprets EU law. Although the UK has left the EU, the CJEU will continue to have jurisdiction over some matters affecting the UK during the transition period and beyond…. There are two aspects of CJEU jurisdiction after the transition that are treated distinctly in the WA. Firstly, to ensure that Part 2 [of the Withdrawal Agreement on citizens rights] is interpreted in the same way in the UK and in the EU, UK courts retain the power to send preliminary references to the CJEU about the meaning of any aspect of Part 2 of the WA for a period of eight years after the end of the transition period. Questions about EU citizens’ rights in the UK can thus continue to be submitted to the CJEU until at least the end of 2028”.
The new post-Brexit immigration system
In addition to the post-Brexit deadlines mentioned above, readers will no doubt be aware of the ongoing work by the Home Office to reshape the immigration system; in large part due to the ending of free movement. So far, this includes:
- New visa requirements for EU nationals in the UK who have not acquired the settled status
- The replacement of the old Tier 2 (general) work visa with the newer Skilled Worker visa, which uses a points-based model
- The new UK graduate visa scheme
- The global talent scheme – allows highly skilled workers in the fields of science and research to come to the UK without a job offer
The effects of Brexit will continue to be felt for many years to come when it comes to UK immigration. If you are unsure how you will be affected or how you can protect your interests and those of your family members, speak to an immigration solicitor in the UK who will help you achieve your long-term goals.