The answer to the question is, a lot less than they currently get.
Anyone following the Brexit saga will, by now, have realised that Brexit apparently means taking back control, ending the jurisdiction of the EU’s Supercourt, the Court of Justice, not paying Brussels large sums of money – but also making it clear that European free movement will end.
To make it clear - these are the promises from the leave side, and all this depends on the UK leaving the EU on 29th March without any deal with the EU, so read the below with the health warning.
So, on Monday, the Home Secretary announced the UK’s current plans for immigration control of EU citizens post-Brexit under no-deal.
To start with there is a draft law, a Bill which got its second reading, and says that EU (technically EEA) nationals and their family members, arriving post-Brexit under no-deal, will be subject to UK immigration control and free movement will end – in other words they will need permission to enter and remain.
What then will actually happen on 30th March 2019 to an EU national arriving in London on the Eurostar at 08.32?
Actually, what will happen to them as they board the train in the EU bound for the UK? Although, it might be that there are plenty of spare seats on this service.
Not very much it seems.
Ignore the issue of EU citizens already in the UK pre - Brexit for now – they have the option, subject to an application, of permanent UK settlement, known as settled status.
Having signalled the end to free movement and launched the Bill to achieve this, the Home Secretary announced yesterday that for “a” transitional period, EU nationals (technically EEA – so include the Swiss, Norwegians and others) can still come in, providing they stay three months, or less.
If after this they want to stay on, then they’ll need to apply for, pay, and receive something to be called European Temporary Leave to Remain, which will last three years. Anyone who after this is still convinced that they want to hang on the UK any longer will need to apply under the UK’s new “skill-based” future immigration system.
Anyone with the three year ETLR can’t extend it and it will not give the holder a right to settle.
How long is this time limited Plan B - v2.2 to last for?
Not said, only it’s temporary. Oddly, the Home Secretary underlined that the scheme does not apply to EU nationals who arrived before Brexit, (and who get the chance to gain permanent settlement) as we value them hugely – suggesting that a different view is taken of post-Brexit EU nationals coming to the UK.
Well, non-EU family members of EU citizens will need to get a family permit in advance (of arriving), the scheme does not apply to Irish nationals and the EU until yesterday had proposed a similar scheme for UK nationals entering the EU – on the basis that the arrangement was reciprocated by the UK, which it hasn’t been. So, expect some changes.
What do I do and how do I prepare?
As a business, log onto to EEF’s Brexit Hub and take a look at our Toolkit to plan for life after Brexit, with all our plans, tips, guides and a fuller explanation of the UK’s evolving immigration system.