Prepare to Have Your Say on the UK’s Future Immigration System

Brexit Clock

The government has said it will publish an immigration white paper in the coming weeks. This should provide details of the specific immigration policies that it intends to introduce. We are hoping that businesses will be given a formal opportunity to comment on these policies and raise concerns. Given that the proposals are likely to have a significant effect on future EEA migration to the UK, our Business Immigration team will be supporting clients and contacts to understand and respond to the white paper.

With this in mind, we are asking businesses that are concerned about future UK immigration policy to register their interest now so that we can send further guidance on the relevant proposals in the white paper and how to respond to it once it is published. In the meantime, given that the government may allow only a brief window for businesses to respond to the white paper, we have listed the key points that any concerned business should be considering now with a view to including these as part of any meaningful representations (whether it chooses to submit these through us or independently).

Click here for further detail.

Seoul Trader

Faisal Islam, Political Editor at Sky News, today reported that the Trade Secretary Liam Fox is visiting Korea, a key trade partner of the UK.

I noticed that Islam tweeted what has long been suspected regarding the possible rollover of the EU-Korea FTA, namely that “the EU has not and will not write key letter to Seoul and the other dozens of trade partners asking them to treat UK as a continuing EU member in transition for purposes of trade until Withdrawal Deal done. Limbo.”

A little background: the EU has an FTA in force with Korea. As a matter of law, that will cease to apply to the UK when it leaves the EU on 29 March 2019. Earlier in the year the EU agreed to write a letter to Korea, and its other FTA partners, requesting that the UK is treated as a continuing member of the EU during the transition period into which the UK will move, assuming that a Withdrawal Agreement can be finalised before 29 March 2019 (which despite recent blips I think is still probable, if not certain). If they all say yes, this prevents the scenario under which the UK is effectively treated as a member of the EU by the EU and itself until 1 January 2021, but it falls out of the FTAs, third countries not being bound by the Withdrawal Agreement.

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Brexit Timetable – Where will the European Court of Justice Opinion on the Draft Withdrawal Agreement fit into the equation?

Brexit Clock

The clock is ticking! With only seven months left until the leaves the EU on 29 March 2019.  With the European Council Summit on 18 October 2018 eagerly anticipated by all parties there is some expectation, that until that date it will not be resolved whether the UK and EU are able to agree on a Withdrawal Agreement, which would form the basis of the Transition Period from 30 March 2019 to 31 December 2020.

An open issue remains on whether or not any agreed final draft Withdrawal Agreement, will be submitted to the European Court of Justice (ECJ) for the usual legal opinion the ECJ renders under Article 218 (11) Treaty of European Union (TEU) in respect of international agreements the EU enters into.

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Preparing for the Withdrawal of the UK from the EU

Brexit Tearing of FlagsOn 19 July 2018 the EU Commission published a paper on “Preparing for the withdrawal of the UK from the EU on 30 March 2019”.

The paper deals both with a “Deal Scenario” where the EU27 and the UK enter into a binding Withdrawal Agreement prior to 29 March 2019 and also with a “No Deal Scenario” setting out the consequences of no Withdrawal Agreement being entered into.

The Preparedness Paper in particular lists and summarizes the 68 sector and industry specific Notices to Stakeholders which the EU Commission has issued during recent months.

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Never a dull moment in Brexitlandia…

On Friday, the British Cabinet met in Chequers, the Prime Minister’s country retreat, to agree among itself, a position to propose to the EU27 on its intended future relationship with the EU after Brexit. A mere two years after the referendum. Key points involved agreeing to maintain a “common rulebook” for all goods and agricultural products and the establishment of a “combined customs territory”, under which the UK would apply its own, possibly lower, tariffs and policies for goods for the domestic market, and EU tariffs and policies for goods entering the EU. These, the Cabinet considered, would go some way to enabling the UK to maintain a frictionless, or close to frictionless, border in Ireland and mainland Europe, while giving it an independent trade policy, particularly in relation to services. On jurisdiction, the UK would pay “due regard” to EU case law in respect of the common rulebook, but would not technically be bound by its decisions, nor would the ECJ resolve disputes between the UK and the EU. Free movement would end and be replaced with a “mobility framework”.

A Government White Paper is expected to be published on Thursday, with considerably more detail than the three-pager that was published at the start of the weekend. In its current form, the proposal may not fly in Brussels. It looks like the fabled “cherry picking” of the UK requesting the benefits of EU membership without fully signing up to the Four Freedoms, and the fear in Brussels is that it would give the UK a competitive advantage that other members states do not have. But it is at least the first document emerging from the UK government that explicitly accepts trade-offs will need to be made.

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Brexit Transition Period Insight

Please see below our latest insight into the legal position of the proposed Brexit transition period.

Firstly we have examined the legality of the transition period; if the transition period applies in the domestic jurisdictions of the other 27 Member States; taken a closer look at identifying any gaps in EU law during the transition period and finally, if the European Court of Justice can decide on the lawfulness of the transition period and other aspects of the withdrawal agreement.

Statement of Intent for EU Citizens

Brexit FAQThe Home Office recently published details of its EU Settlement Scheme with information on how EU citizens in the UK can apply for settled or pre-settled status when the scheme is phased in towards the end of 2018. Our Brexit FAQs provide practical guidance on the key points of the scheme and can be forwarded directly to any of your EU/EEA employees with questions or concerns about what Brexit means for them.

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