The Government values the significant contribution that EU citizens make to our public services and our communities, and we want them to stay. The Prime Minister has given an unequivocal guarantee that they will have the absolute certainty of the continued right to live and remain in the UK after Brexit.
That certainty is being delivered by the EU Settlement Scheme, and nearly 1.5 million people have already been granted status under the scheme. That status will enable EU citizens and their family members to secure their rights in UK law, with the same rights to work and access benefits and services as they have now. The scheme will cover all EU citizens living in the UK before Brexit on 31 October, and their family members, and they will have until at least 31 December 2020 to apply.
Freedom of movement as it currently stands under EU law will be brought to an end when we leave the EU on 31 October. From January 2021, we will introduce a new points-based immigration system. This will prioritise the skills and contributions people can make to the UK, rather than where they come from. In a no deal scenario, there will be a transitional period before the new immigration system commences in 2021. We have announced details of the temporary immigration arrangements that will operate during this period and they are available at: https://www.gov.uk/government/publications/no-deal-immigration-arrangements-for-eu-citizens-moving-to-the-uk-after-brexit
Law-abiding EU citizens moving to the UK after a no deal Brexit will still be able to live and work in the UK for a temporary period, but we will make it harder for serious criminals to enter the UK. Those new arrivals who wish to stay beyond the end of 2020 will need to apply for a UK immigration status. The Home Office will open a new immigration scheme – the European Temporary Leave to Remain Scheme to provide a route to apply for this status. The online application process will be simple and free of charge. Subject to identity, security and criminality checks, successful applicants will be granted 36 months’ leave to remain in the UK. This will provide them with a bridge into the new immigration system from 2021.
The Government looks forward to seeing the EU27 set out such clear and generous arrangements for UK nationals living in the EU.