On 28 February 2018, the Home Office set out its proposed rules for EU citizens who arrive in the UK during the implementation period, after we have left the EU. This provides certainty to individuals and businesses and recognises the important contribution EU citizens will continue to make to the UK. It also ensures that those planning to come to the UK after March next year know what the arrangements will be.
What is the implementation period?
The implementation period is the period immediately after the UK has left the EU on 29 March 2019. The purpose of the implementation period, which will last around two years, is to give people and businesses in the UK and across the EU the time they need to put in place new arrangements and to adjust to our future partnership.
What are the implications for MOD personnel currently serving overseas, accompanied by EU citizen family members?
This is good news for personnel with family members who are EU citizens, since it means they can be clear on the arrangements for returning to the UK during the implementation period immediately after March 2019. EU citizens will be able to come to the UK during this period, stay on, and ultimately to settle.
EU citizens arriving during the implementation period and who wish to stay for longer than three months will need to register under a new Home Office registration system. If they want to stay in the UK after the implementation period, they can apply for a temporary status in UK law to enable them do so. After five years of continuous, lawful residence they will be able to apply for indefinite leave to remain in the UK.
More information is available on GOV.UK at UK leaving the EU: what you need to know.
EU citizens currently in the UK
The 28 February 2018 announcement does not affect the agreement for EU citizens already living in the UK which was reached with the EU in December. Nor does it affect Irish citizens whose rights are rooted in the Ireland Act 1949. The December agreement means that EU citizens and their family members living in the UK before 29 March 2019 will be able to continue to live, work and study here. Their rights to healthcare, work arrangements and access to benefits have been agreed by the UK and the EU and are set out in the agreement document. Existing close family members of these EU citizens will continue to be able to join them on the same basis as now.
You can read more on GOV.UK at Status of EU citizens in the UK: what you need to know.
A streamlined, user-friendly scheme to enable EU citizens to secure settled status will be opened later this year. It will remain open for at least two years after the UK has left the EU. More information on the scheme and how to apply will be available soon. EU citizens currently resident in the UK do not need to do anything further at this point.
It is hoped that this provides reassurance to individuals with family members that are EU citizens but do not have British citizenship.
You can make sure that you receive the latest updates from the Home Office by signing up for Email Alerts. The Ministry of Defence is working closely with the Home Office and you are encouraged to raise any concerns that you have with the Chain of Command so that we can ensure that these are registered in London.