nationals

UK scraps plan to end freedom of movement

The UK government has been forced to abandon its plan to end freedom of movement for European Union nationals immediately after a no-deal Brexit.Instead, the Home Office has announced it will reinstate a previous scheme that will grant a three-year 'right to remain' to all EU nationals entering the country between the planned Brexit date of October 31 and the end of 2020.The U-turn came less than a month after the new government led by Boris Johnson announced that freedom of movement would be brought to a halt the moment the UK left the bloc, unless an agreement had been reached with Brussels beforehand.However, business groups, lawyers, migration specialists and lobbyists for the three million-plus EU nationals already in the UK, immediately pointed out it would be impossible for border control officers to differentiate between returning Europeans who had a legal right of residence in the UK and anyone else arriving from the continent.Although the government has introduced its Settled Status scheme, which will guarantee the rights of permanent residence to EU nationals who have been in the country for at least five years, applicants have until the end of 2020 to register under the scheme and, so far, only about a third have done so.