The Withdrawal Agreement
A UK Withdrawal Agreement and Political Declaration on the future relationship between the UK and EU were endorsed by the European Council. The UK Parliament has voted to reject that Withdrawal Agreement.
The European Council agreed on 10 April to a request from the UK Government for a further extension to Article 50. This extension may potentially last until 31 October 2019 if Elections to the EU Parliament are held in the UK. The UK may leave earlier than 31 October if there is ratification of a withdrawal agreement. If elections to the European parliament are not held then the UK must leave by 31 May 2019.
Keeping up to date
The Government publishes guidance on Brexit online. You can sign up to e-mail updates to get up to notifications of updates.
Across Essex, local authorities and public services are working together and planning for leaving the EU. This includes participating in local resilience forums (LRFs). These are multi-agency partnerships made up of representatives from local public services, including the emergency services, local authorities, the NHS, the Environment Agency and others. The Essex Resilience Forum has been planning to mitigate any disruption that may be caused by the EU Exit since August 2018. Nationally, Government and the NHS have been making plans to ensure continued access to medication.
EU Citizens’ rights
If you are an EU citizen, then the Settlement Scheme allows you and your close family members to continue to live and work in the UK after Brexit. There is no fee for using the scheme. Registration under the scheme will mean that you will remain eligible for:
- public services, such as healthcare and schools
- public funds and pensions
- British citizenship, if you want to apply and meet the requirements.
You can find if you should use the scheme using an online tool. You will need to register by 30 June 2021. You can sign up for email updates online.
A policy paper identifies government’s intention that the event of no-deal:
- EU citizens and their families resident by EU Exit date will have broadly the same entitlements to healthcare, education, benefits and social housing including supported housing and homelessness assistance as they do today.
- Any EU citizens resident by EU Exit date can apply under the settlement scheme which will run until 31 December 2020.
- EU identity cards will initially remain valid for travel to the UK.
In the case of no deal the government has proposed that EU, EEA or Swiss citizens not resident by the date of EU Exit will be able to visit the UK
and be able to work or study for up to 3 months without a visa. For longer visits EU, EEA or Swiss citizens will be able to apply for European Temporary Leave to Remain
Irish citizens’ rights
Irish citizens do not need to apply under the Settlement scheme. The Government has published guidance on rights of Irish citizens under the Common Travel Area, which are not dependent on UK’s future relationship with the EU.
EFTA citizens’ rights
The Government has announced that it has reached agreements on the rights of Swiss Citizens and Citizens of Norway, Iceland and Liechtenstein which will also allow them to use the settlement scheme. The agreement for Swiss Citizens applies in the case of no deal. A separate agreement identifies the rights of citizens of Norway, Iceland and Liechtenstein in the event of no deal.
Advice on settlement scheme
The government has provided guidance on the settlement scheme online in all EU languages. A partnership pack is available for community leaders to promote the settlement scheme.
On-line guidance is provided at gov.uk. Telephone guidance is available from the EU Settlement Resolution Centre (0300 123 7379).
If the Withdrawal Act is ratified, then UK Citizens will be able to continue to travel to the EU states on the same basis as now until the end of December 2020. In the event of no deal, points to consider for travel to EU/ EEA are:
Driving in the UK
EU and EEA driving licence
holders will not require an International Driving Permit and can continue to use an EU/ EEA car or motorcycle licence for up to 3 years after becoming resident or until the age of 70.
VAT on parcels
In the case of no-deal the rules for payment of VAT on parcels purchased from all overseas businesses will change. Sellers should pay VAT for values up to £135 and buyers should pay VAT for values over £135 via the parcel operator.
There is further no deal guidance for UK nationals online covering a wide range of topics such as living, working and studying in the EU and EFTA states.
Businesses and Employers
Employees and recruitment
There are no immediate changes on employment checks for EU, EEA or Swiss nationals after the UK leave the EU. Applicants may choose to use the Home Office online service if they’ve been granted status under the EU Settlement Scheme, but you cannot require them to do so. You do not have to check whether your existing employees have status under the EU Settlement Scheme.
You can use an Employer Toolkit to explain the EU settlement scheme to employees. The toolkit contains a range of ready to use leaflets and posters.
Under the Withdrawal Agreement, EU Citizens can continue to move to the UK to live and work until 31 December 2020. In the case of no deal, the EU Settlement scheme will operate for EU, EEA or Swiss citizens already resident in the UK. The free movement of people will end but there will be a transition period until 1 January 2021. EU, EEA and Swiss citizens arriving for the first time in the UK during this period will be able to work for 3 months or less at a time without needing to apply for status. EU, EEA and Swiss citizens who want to work in the UK for longer than 3 months during this period will be able to apply for European temporary leave to remain. They will then be able to live and work in the UK for 36 months from the date their leave is granted.
Proposals for future immigration are covered by the Immigration White Paper.
Exporting and importing
Guidance materials are available that explain how to manage importing and exporting in the case of a no deal Brexit. The contents cover customs, excise, VAT and regulatory changes. No-deal technical notices provide guidance on more specialist areas. An online tool is available to identify information that is most relevant to your business. There are also a number of short video explainers available.
There is a grant funding scheme for training to help employees to complete customs declarations or IT improvements. This will close on 31 May 2019, or earlier if all funding is allocated.
The Withdrawal Agreement provides for on-going recognition of qualifications during the withdrawal period. The government has published a technical notice which includes guidance on the ongoing recognition of European Economic Area (EEA) professional qualifications in the event of no deal. This states that for EEA professionals (including UK nationals holding EEA qualifications) who are already established and have received a recognition decision in the UK, the recognition decision will not be affected and will remain valid. Guidance confirms that registered health and social care professionals can continue to practice.
No deal guidance for Bus and Coach drivers states that the UK will continue to accept a Driver Certificate of Professional Competence (CPC) from EU countries.
GDPR Personal Data
In the event of no deal there are potential impacts on international transfers of personal data, or for data hosted in the EEA. The ICO provides guidance on its website. Transfers of data to the EEA will continue to be permitted. Transfers of data from the EEA to the UK will not automatically be permitted, without standard contractual clauses or other arrangements. There is also a requirement for US organisations to publicly commit to apply the EU/US Privacy Shield to transfers from the UK in the event of no deal.
The BEST Growth Hub provide links to a number of further materials for businesses on their site.