As part of Brexit negotiations, the European Union and the United Kingdom have now agreed in principle to a transition period during which the free movement of EU workers will continue; EU workers must complete a registration process within three months of their arrival in the United Kingdom. Among other immigration updates, the UK government has proposed increases to certain application fees, and Croatian nationals will no longer face restricted access to the UK labour market.
The agreed transition period for the free movement of EU workers in the United Kingdom will run from 30 March 2019—when the United Kingdom will leave the European Union—through 31 December 2020. During this time, EU workers will be able to enter the United Kingdom and work, but will be required to complete a registration process within three months of their arrival. Thereafter, EU workers will be able to apply for temporary status until they have accrued five years’ continuous residence in the United Kingdom. Once an EU worker has accrued five years’ continuous residence in the UK, he or she may be eligible to apply for settled status. Further information will be forthcoming regarding what documents employers will be required to check and monitor for EU nationals who enter the United Kingdom during the transition period.
Please see our previous LawFlash, which sets out information on the process for applying for temporary and settled status.
Other UK Immigration Updates
On 11 March, the UK government announced changes to the UK’s immigration rules (which govern visa categories for non-EU nationals). Unlike previous years very few changes have been made. The list of Permit Free Festivals in Visitors Appendix 5 to Appendix V has been updated; the updated list can be accessed on 6 April 2018.
UK visa application fees will increase from 6 April 2018. The majority of fees will increase by 4%. The most notable increase, however, will be for applying for an approval letter from a competent body in respect of an initial application for Tier 1 (Exceptional Talent), which fee will increase by £164 ($230). Other notable increases include applications for indefinite leave to remain, which will increase to £2,389 ($3,346), or £2,899 ($4,060) if the application is submitted for same-day processing. View the full list of updated application fees.
From 1 July 2018 Croatians will no longer be subject to restrictions on their access to the UK labour market. Croatians who enter the United Kingdom prior to Brexit on 29 March 2019, like other EU citizens, will be able to take up any employment in the United Kingdom without having to first obtain worker authorisation from the Home Office. Croatians will be able to present their original passports to employers as evidence of their right to work in the United Kingdom.