Brexit immigration update – extended rights for EU nationals during the implementation period

Brexit / 10 April 2017


The UK Government and European Commission have agreed that EU nationals arriving in the UK during the implementation period (30 March 2019 to 31 December 2020 inclusive), can continue to benefit from the rights to free movement which they currently enjoy under EU law, provided they register where they stay for more than 3 months. When they have accumulated five years continuous and lawful residence, they will be allowed to obtain a new type of “settled status”. This protection will be reciprocated for UK nationals lawfully residing in another EU Member State. This updates the position as reported in our January update – read that here. Effectively, the cut-off date for the end of free movement has moved to the end of the implementation period.

The UK Government is in discussions to extend this model with Norway, Iceland, Liechtenstein and Switzerland.

In addition, the Migration Advisory Committee (‘MAC’) (tasked with assessing the economic and social impact of Brexit, including recommendations) has not finished their investigation but they felt the need to provide an update and so released an interim report on 27 March 2018. The document can be found here. MAC had a large number of responses but there are still concerns regarding overall employer representation. If, as an employer you wish to feed into MAC then you are still able to do so. MAC do not want to rush change. They will provide recommendations for a future immigration system in September 2018.



EU nationals’ UK residence status will depend on whether they arrived before the end of the implementation period and how long they have lived in the UK. However, “Nothing is agreed until everything is agreed.” Until all the negotiations have taken place and a final agreement has been reached, we can only speculate.


We will keep you informed. For now – employers should: note the key dates above, maintain their right to work processes, communicate updates to staff where appropriate and remain agile to opportunities and to mitigate risk. There are things that can be done now to prepare for Brexit. Contact us if you would like to talk – we’ve worked with a variety of clients in different sectors.


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This update is for general purposes and guidance only and does not constitute legal or professional advice. You should seek legal advice before relying on its content. This update relates to the prevailing circumstances at the date of its original publication and may not have been updated to reflect subsequent developments. If you have general queries about our updates, please email:

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