Monthly Archives: November 2020

Three Facts About The UK Immigration Act 2020

Three Facts About The UK Immigration Act 2020

On 11 November, the Immigration and Social Security Co-ordination (EU Withdrawal) Act 2020, commonly known as the Immigration Act 2020 (the Act), was passed into law. The Act repeals all domestic legislation which provides for freedom of movement and paves the way for a new points-based immigration system, in which EU/EEA and non EU/EEA nationals will be treated the same. However, there are provisions in the Act which deal specifically with Irish citizens, recognising the special relationship between the two countries.

Below are five key facts everyone needs to know about the changes that will take place at the end of the Brexit transition period (1 January 2021).

One – The Act repeals all freedom of movement-related legislation

For many people, the end of freedom of movement was a key factor in voting to leave the EU. In a statement released the day the Act received its Royal Assent, Home Secretary, Priti Patel said:

“This time last year the government promised to end free movement, take back control of our borders and introduce a new points-based immigration system.

Today we have officially delivered on that promise.

The Act of Parliament which ends free movement has completed its journey through Parliament and today achieved Royal Assent.

This is an historic day in our new direction outside of the EU – controlling our own borders and delivering on the people’s priorities.”

The statement went on to say:

“The points-based immigration system will encourage employers to focus on training and investing in the UK work force, driving productivity and improving opportunities for individuals, especially those impacted by coronavirus.

Those wanting to come into the UK to work will need to apply for permission in advance. They will be awarded points for a job offer at the appropriate skill level, if they speak English, and for meeting the appropriate salary threshold. Visas will be awarded to those who gain enough points.”

The Act repeals a raft of legislation which allowed freedom of movement to be integrated into UK law. For example, Article 1 of the Workers Regulation gave EU/EEA nationals the same rights to work in the UK as those enjoyed by British citizens.

In case any laws have been overlooked, Schedule 1, paragraph 6 of the Act provides:

Any other EU-derived rights, powers, liabilities, obligations, restrictions, remedies and procedures cease to be recognised and available in domestic law so far as—

(a) they are inconsistent with, or are otherwise capable of affecting the interpretation, application or operation of, any provision made by or under the Immigration Acts (including, and as amended by, this Act), or

(b) they are otherwise capable of affecting the exercise of functions in connection with immigration.

And just to ensure that absolutely nothing gets in the way of ending freedom of movement, the Act provides for open-ended exceptionally broad powers.

Two- The Act provides for ‘Henry VIII powers’

One of the most criticised parts of the Act, as it passed through Parliament, was the provisions of Section 5 which states, in relation to freedom of movement:

“The Secretary of State may by regulations made by statutory instrument make such provision as the Secretary of State considers appropriate in consequence of, or in connection with, any provision of this Part.”

This effectively means that the government can make changes to legislation concerning freedom of movement without “substantive oversight” (i.e. having the changes pass through and be debated in Parliament). Furthermore, the provision has no time limit; therefore, changes could be made many years in the future, and in cases where a subsequent Secretary of State considers amendments are merely ‘appropriate’ as opposed to the usual higher threshold of ‘necessary’.

Three – Irish Citizens can freely enter or leave the UK without restrictions

The UK, Ireland, Isle of Man, and the Channel Islands operate a Common Travel Area which allows citizens from each nation to freely leave and enter each other’s territory. Because Ireland is a member of the EU, the Common Travel Area provisions did not apply because they had leave to enter and remain in the UK under freedom of movement. There were fears that the ‘special relationship’ regarding the right of people from Éire to freely enter and leave the UK would not continue after 1 January 2021. These worries have thankfully been expunged by the provisions of the Act.

In summary

The Act does not set out the details of the new points-based system, it simply lays down the essential foundation for it, i.e. ending freedom of movement whilst protecting the ‘special relationship’ between the UK and the Republic of Ireland. It is a monumental piece of legislation as it sweeps away one of the fundamental anchors of immigration policy that has been part of Britain’s identity for nearly 50 years.

What matters now, more than ever is for businesses and people who will be affected by the end of freedom of movement to get prepared. For the former, that means obtaining a UK Sponsor Licence; for the latter, Settled or Pre-Settled Status. For advice and representation on these and any other immigration matters, talk to an experienced immigration law Solicitor.

Based in Birmingham and London, UK Migration Lawyers is one of Britain’s premier immigration law firms. Please phone our office on 0121 777 7715 to make an appointment with one of our immigration Solicitors.

The Effect of Brexit on EEA Family Permits

The Effect Of Brexit On EEA Family Permits

With the transition period between the EU and the UK ending in less than six weeks, many EU/EEA nationals living in the UK are wondering what rights they will have to bring their family members to Britain from 1 January 2021. At present, the existing rules surrounding an EEA Family Permit remain. In brief, these are as follows:

What is an EEA Family Permit?

An EEA Family Permit is a document that allows for a non-EU/EEA family member of an EU/EEA national to enter the UK and live and work freely. An example of this includes:

  • An Australian partner of a German national.
  • A Brazilian-born child of a French citizen.
  • A dependent Indian parent of a Dutch national.
  • An Ethiopian mother of a child born in Sweden and now living in the UK (Zambrano carer)

A full definition of ‘family member’ and ‘extended family member’ can be found below.

In theory, an EEA Permit is not required, as family members of an EEA national exercising their Treaty rights can apply for entry clearance at the border. However, some airline carriers will not allow people without an EEA Family Permit or some other type of visa board a flight to the UK for fear of being fined. For peace of mind, it is always preferable to apply for a permit before coming to Britain as a family member of an EU/EEA national.

To qualify for an EEA Family Permit, you must:

  • Be a family member or extended family member of an EEA national who is already in the country or travelling with you to the UK within six months of your application
  • Show evidence that the EU/EEA national who has been living in Britain three months or more is exercising their Treaty rights as an employee, self-employed person, student, or self-sufficient person
  • Prove you will be living in the same house as the EU/EEA national whilst you are in the UK.

A family member is defined as:

  • a spouse
  • civil partner
  • a partner who you have lived within a relationship akin to marriage for at least two years (this includes same-sex partners), a dependent child or grandchild under 21 years, or a dependent parent or grandparent

Extended family members are defined as siblings, aunts, uncles, nephews, nieces, and cousins who are dependent on you for their day-to-day care.

How does Brexit affect applications for an EEA Family Permit?

Non-EU/EEA family members and extended family members make up a significant, but little talked about group who will be impacted by the end of freedom of movement.

For those who fall into this category who are already in the UK, an application for Settled or Pre-Settled Status under the EU Settlement Scheme needs to be made. Unfortunately, research shows that refusals for this group are disproportionately high, especially for Zambrano carers. Investing in high-quality legal advice from an experienced immigration law Solicitor can greatly reduce the chances of an application for Settled or Pre-Settled Status being refused.

Those non-EEA family members or extended family members of EU/EEA nationals who have attained Pre-Settled Status will be able to apply for an EEA Family Permit after 31 December 2020 until 30 June 2021. And even if you miss this deadline, you may still be able to apply for an EU Settlement Scheme Family Permit if all of the following are true:

  • your family member who you are planning to join in the UK has either Settled or Pre-Settled Status
  • your relationship began before 31 December 2020
  • you remain a close family member, for example, a spouse, civil partner, unmarried partner, a dependent child or grandchild, or a dependent parent or grandparent

You must register for Pre-Settled Status within three months of arriving on the EU Settlement Scheme Family Permit route. After living in the UK for five years, you can apply for Settled Status.

Our immigration lawyers can assist you with all aspects of obtaining an EEA Family Permit, EU Settlement Scheme Family Permit, and any matters concerning the EU Settlement Scheme.

Based in Birmingham and London, UK Migration Lawyers is one of Britain’s premier immigration law firms. Please phone our office on 0121 777 7715 to make an appointment with one of our immigration Solicitors.

UK Migration Lawyers is authorised and regulated by the Solicitors Regulation Authority (SRA Number 497640). Accredited immigration Law Solicitors. UK Migration Lawyers Ltd. / All rights reserved. Company Registration No 06702262 / Registered in England and Wales.