Brexit: what are the consequences for French employees in the United Kingdom?
The fateful date of October 31 is around the corner and negotiations over Brexit have entered into a phase of extreme tension. Currently, no withdrawal agreement from the European Union is likely to happen. Be that as it may, Brexit will affect French Nationals’ rights, as well as the formalities to be completed in connection with their right to move, reside and work in the UK. Despite the confusion and lack of guidance, businesses must be aware of two possible scenarios: a Brexit with or without a withdrawal agreement.
How can businesses be prepared to Brexit by taking into account the two possible scenarios ?
Scenario n°1: No withdrawal agreement is reached
This is now the most likely outcome. French Nationals may need to apply to the EU Settlement Scheme to continue living in the UK. There are three different situations.
- French Nationals living in the United Kingdom for more than 5 years as of 31 October 2019:
French Nationals concerned will be able to apply from to the Settled status. This status allows to benefit from the same rights as British citizens. Please note that if the resident leaves the United Kingdom for 5 years or more, the return will be subject to the new migration rules put in place.
- French Nationals living in the United Kingdom for less than 5 years as of 31 October 2019:
French Nationals concerned will be able to apply from to the Pre-settled status. This status allows to remain in the country until to have obtained 5 years of residence. After, it will be possible to apply for settled status. Please note that you must reside in the United Kingdom for at least six consecutive months before applying for pre-settled status.
- French Nationals, currently residing in Europe, who wish to move to the United Kingdom after 31 October 2019:
The information provided by the UK Government is as follows:
“You may not need to do your procedure ahead of the 31 October deadline. The action you may need to take may change subject to negotiations and your own circumstances.”
On the French government’s website, the hypothesis of French nationals wishing to travel to the United Kingdom after Brexit is not even mentioned.
Scenario n°2: A withdrawal agreement is agreed upon and ratified
The above rules remain the same but the date is no longer October 21, 2019, but December 31, 2020. The procedure will be as follows:
1 – Check if you need to apply to the EU Settlement Scheme
This system has been operational since March 30, 2019. The deadline for making a request is June 30, 2021 and it is free of charge.
2 – Find out what status you’ll get
Settled status :
- Conditions: Living in the United Kingdom before December 31, 2020 (or 31 October 2019 if there is no agreement), for more than 5 years and without interruption.
- Exception: A 12-month period outside the United Kingdom is granted by way of derogation for a reason considered important: illness, vocational training, secondment or studies.
- Right: This status grants the right of permanent residence. It allows you to reside, work and benefit from social advantages on the same basis as British nationals.
Pre-settled status :
- Conditions: Living in the United Kingdom before December 31, 2020 (or October 31, 2019 if there is no agreement) for less than 5 years, or for more than 5 years but with interruption.
- Evolution: When the 5 years of continuous residence are reached, there will be the possibility to apply for settled status.
- Right: This status grants a right of residence for 5 years from the date of obtaining the status.
3 – Check what you will need to apply
The application is divided into three main sections:
- A first component concerns identity and nationality
- A second part includes questions on residence (more or less 5 years, the European scheme not concerning persons not yet residing in the United Kingdom before Brexit)
- A final aspect concerns questions of criminal convictions or suspicion of links with terrorist activities.
To facilitate the process, documents can be scanned online rather than sent by mail.
4 – Apply
Follow this link.
5 – After applying
If the application is accepted, resident will receive a letter confirming the status. This letter includes a link to an online service to prove status. No physical documents will be issued, and the letter does not constitute proof of status.
According to an article in the Financial Times, the procedures already put in place by the British government are facing many difficulties. Many expatriates are unable to obtain their pre-settled or settled status. Only the coming weeks can confirm the future of this reform.
Any projects? We stand alongside you in order to facilitate the mobility of your employees to France or to any other country.