BREXIT: EU Agrees Another Article 50 Extension [UPDATED]

On 28 October 2019, the EU agreed a new ‘flextension’ of the Article 50 period: until 31 January 2020, with the option of the UK leaving earlier if the Withdrawal Agreement is ratified in time.

[UPDATE]  On 29 October, the House of Commons agreed to hold a general election on 12 December 2019. With the coming of a general election, the current Parliament will dissolve (likely at midnight on 6 November), and a new Parliament will convene (likely in late December) after the election.

All of this means that there will be no further Parliamentary action on Brexit legislation until the new Parliament sits, and the election could lead to a new government with a different Brexit policy.

There are still several possible outcomes:

  • There could be a no-deal Brexit on 1 February 2019 if the deal has not been ratified and no further extension request is granted; or
  • The UK and EU parliaments could ratify the Withdrawal Agreement by the 31 January 2020, with Brexit taking place on the first day of the month after ratification is completed; or
  • The UK government could request another extension beyond 31 January (which may or may not be granted by the EU); or
  • A UK government could unilaterally revoke Article 50, possibly following a second referendum, effectively canceling Brexit.

Background

On 17 Oct 2019, the Government of the United Kingdom and the EU Council agreed a modified Withdrawal Agreement and Political Declaration. However, on 19 Oct 2019, the UK Parliament voted to force the UK Government to request another extension of the Article 50 period. 

On 22 Oct 2019, parliament voted to take forward the government's Withdrawal Agreement Bill, which must be approved before the Withdrawal Agreement can be ratified in the UK, but voted against the government's fast-track timetable for scrutinizing the bill.

This left the bill in limbo - making it difficult for the Withdrawal Agreement to be ratified by the previous Article 50 deadline of 31 October 2019.

What You Can Do Now

  • Ensure all UK employees residing in an EU member state, and EU citizens resident in the UK, and their family members, have submitted registration applications (where applicable) by Brexit day;
  • Affected employees should gather documents in support of possible future immigration applications;
  • Be prepared for longer, more complex immigration application requirements in any post-Brexit scenario and, if possible, bring forward any planned assignments between the UK and the EU.
  • See our latest Brexit information collected here.
  • Contact a Newland Chase immigration specialist for case-specific advice.

For general advice and information on immigration and business travel to the UK or any EU member state, please email us at enquiries@newlandchase.com.