BREXIT: UK Leaves EU and Enters Transition Period

How Did We Get Here?

On 23 June 2016, the United Kingdom held a referendum asking voters in England, Scotland, Wales and Northern Ireland if they wanted to remain a member of, or to leave, the European Union. 51.89% of UK voters voted to leave the EU.

The UK government triggered the Article 50 process to commence withdrawal negotiations with the EU, thereby establishing an exit date of 29 March 2019. However, with no majority for the exit deal agreed with the EU, the Article 50 period had to be extended several times and the exit date postponed.

Eventually, in the 12 December 2019 general election, the Conservative party won with a substantially increased parliamentary majority, and was able to push the Withdrawal Agreement Bill through parliament and take the UK out of the EU on 31 January 2020.

What Happens Next?

Under the Withdrawal Agreement, free movement rights will continue until the end of the transition period (31 December 2020 unless extended).

Note that the UK has reached separate agreements with the EEA EFTA states (Iceland, Liechtenstein and Norway), as well as with Switzerland, on protecting citizens' rights after Brexit.

EU Citizens in the UK

  • All EU citizens arriving in the UK before 31 December 2020 will have until 30 June 2021 to register, through the EU Settlement Scheme.
  • Family members in a relationship with the EU citizen before the end of the transition period will be able to join those with settled status at any future date.
  • New immigration rules, applying to EU nationals arriving after transition, should come into effect by January 2021. EEA workers will be treated the same as non-European nationals under the existing system, but with some amendments to the system. The government’s proposal is analysed in detail here but is subject to further changes.
  • Family members of an EU citizen arriving after 31 December 2020, will be subject to a future immigration scheme.
  • Newland Chase understands that it is vital to our clients to ensure the continued rights of their EU nationals in the UK, and offers a comprehensive, tailored set of services to support and minimize the impact of Brexit.

UK Nationals in the EU

  • The rights of UK nationals resident in the EU before the end of the transition period (31 December 2020, unless extended), and of their family members, will be similarly protected, though registration schemes will vary between members states.
  • Employers are encouraged to review their UK business traveller and cross-border commuter population in the EU, as their current activities may be considered work after Brexit and may require a work permit.
  • Newland Chase has developed an extensive end-to-end service offering to assist employers in supporting their UK national employees in the EU.


Please  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 contact us.