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Brexit and you

6 February 2019

Brexit process

The Withdrawal Agreement

The UK will leave the European Union at 11pm on 29 March 2019.

A UK Withdrawal Agreement and Political Declaration on the future relationship between the UK and EU were endorsed by the European Council. The House of Commons must vote to approve the Withdrawal Agreement and Political Declaration before the Withdrawal Agreement can be ratified and enter into force.

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. 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 under the scheme by 30 June 2021. The scheme will open fully by 30 March 2019. 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 29 March 2019 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 29 March 2019 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.

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. These agreements are subject to ratification. The policy paper includes a statement on EFTA citizens' rights in the event of no deal.

Advice on settlement scheme

The government has announced that it will make guidance on the settlement scheme available online in all EU languages by 29 March. A partnership pack is available for community leaders to promote the settlement scheme.

On-line guidance is provided at Telephone guidance is available from the EU Settlement Resolution Centre (0300 123 7379).

Local Elections
On 1 Nov 2018 the Cabinet Office set out its policy for eligibility for local government elections in response to a written question.

International Travel

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.

Businesses and Employers

Settlement scheme for employers

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.

policy paper proposes that in the event of a no-deal Brexit all EU citizens and their families resident in the UK by 29 March 2019 will continue to be able to work, study, and access benefits and services in the UK. It states that until 31 December 2020, EU citizens will continue to be able to rely on their passport or national identity card if they are asked to evidence their right to reside in the UK when, for example, applying for a job.

Proposals for future immigration are covered by the Immigration White Paper. The Home Secretary has set out propsals for EEA imigration under no deal.

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 is a grant funding scheme for training to help employees to complete customs declarations or IT improvements. This will close on 5 April 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.

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 Department for Education has set up no deal preparation pages for schools and further education and apprenticeship providers.

Further advice

The BEST Growth Hub provide links to a number of further materials for businesses on their site.