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Dublin: 9°C Sunday 9 May 2021

Immigration scheme set up for EU citizens going to the UK in event of no-deal Brexit

This will allow EU citizens to apply for three-year visas to the UK.

Passport and visa.
Passport and visa.
Image: Shutterstock/Ink Drop

THE BRITISH GOVERNMENT has announced a three-year immigration scheme for most European citizens coming to the UK in the event of a no-deal Brexit. 

The move put forward earlier today was aimed at reassuring businesses that they will still be able to recruit staff from other countries. 

The new policy will allow immigrants and their close family members from the European Economic Area (EEA) – which is comprised of EU nations, Iceland, Liechtenstein and Norway – and Switzerland to apply to live and work in the UK for up to three years.

The British interior ministry has said the move signalled “the end of free movement in its current form” from EEA member states. It will run until the end of 2020

“Citizens of those states moving to the UK after we have left the EU and up until the end of 2020 will be able to obtain a temporary immigration status lasting three years,” it said in a statement. 

“This will give businesses certainty that they will be able to recruit and retain staff after Brexit.”

The ministry said Europeans could still visit the UK on short trips after Brexit without applying for the scheme.

It added “a tougher criminality threshold” would also be applied post-Brexit for Europeans citizens “in order to keep out and deport those who commit crimes”.

Applications for new three-year stays, which will open after Britain has left the EU, will involve “a simple online process” involving identity, security and criminality checks, according to the interior ministry.

Newly-arrived European citizens who want to stay after their temporary status expires will need to apply under a new skills-based immigration system that Johnson’s government is planning, it said.

“Introducing tougher checks and ending free movement as it currently stands will allow us to take the first, historic steps towards taking back control of our borders,” interior minister Priti Patel said.

“In the future, we will introduce a new points-based immigration system built around the skills and talent people have – not where they are from.”

EU Citizens already living in the UK before Brexit can remain indefinitely under a separate settled status scheme which has already been launched.

More than one million people had been granted status through the scheme, according to the ministry.

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