What Happens to EEA Free Movement After Brexit?

The UK is finally leaving the EU from 11pm tonight and, regrettably, the rights, freedoms and opportunities stemming from the UK’s membership of the EU – which the current generation have enjoyed – will no longer be available to the young and the future generations.

Over the next 11 months, however, the UK will continue to follow all the EU’s rules and regulations and will remain in the single market and the customs union. As such the free movement, one of the core freedoms available to both British and the EEA nationals, will last until 31 December 2020.

The Articles 126 and 127 of the Brexit Withdrawal Agreement state as follows:

“There shall be a transition or implementation period, which shall… end on 31 December 2020… Unless otherwise provided in this Agreement, Union law shall be applicable to and in the United Kingdom during the transition period.”

The Withdrawal Agreement further provides for the transition period, and the connected free movement, to be extended until either 31 December 2021 or 31 December 2022. However, such an extension, although unlikely, must be agreed by 1 July 2020.

EEA nationals and their eligible family members who move to the UK during the transition period may apply for the right to reside here under the EU Settlement Scheme. To be able to apply under the scheme, however, the applicants must be resident in the UK by 31 December 2020, and submit their applications by or before 30 June 2021.

From 1 January 2021, the EEA nationals will be subject to a more restrictive immigration regime under which they’ll need to apply for visas in order to get permission to live and work in the UK.

Fraz Wahlah - Director 1st Citizen Lawyers

Fraz Wahlah

Fraz Wahlah is the chairman at 1st Citizen Lawyers, UK’s favourite visa, immigration and nationality lawyers.

Fraz also serves as the chief executive officer at Rocket Domains, a leading British domain name registrar, Google Cloud Partner, and web technology provider of choice for startups and businesses across the planet to lift off to online space in seconds.