Home Secretary announces
further changes to EU
immigration after Brexit

The Home Secretary has confirmed further plans to ‘take back control of our borders’.

Priti Patel published the proposals in the event of a No-Deal Brexit before yesterday’s events in the Commons. The subsequent Lords vote may take No-Deal off the table, however.

Ms Patel appeared to revert to her predecessor’s plan to stagger the end of free movement, having previously said that it would end immediately on 31 October. She 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.’

The innovations include:

  • Stronger border checks for EU nationals and the end of their immediate right of residence. Instead, EU nationals will be able to come for visits or short trips and may apply for European Temporary Leave to Remain if they wish to stay longer than December 2020. This temporary immigration status lasts up to three years
  • The introduction of blue UK passports later this year
  • The end of the blue EU customs channel. Travellers will need to choose the red or green channel to make customs declarations.

Right to work checks – clarity

In a move that will reassure businesses and landlords in England, Ms Patel also confirmed that when employers or landlords are complying with the law to conduct right to work or right to rent checks, they will not be required to distinguish between EU citizens who arrived before and after Brexit, until the future immigration system is introduced from 2021.

EU citizens who are already living in the UK before 31 October 2019 may apply to the EU Settlement Scheme and have until at least 31 December 2020 to do so. So far, a third of all of those eligible have applied and received either pre-settled or settled status.


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