Ever since the 23rd June 2016, the date of Brexit, which was later established to be the 29th March 2019, has been looming. Brexit has been delayed, making the entire event seem rather anticlimactic.
The new date has been set to either being the 12th April 2019 or the 22nd May 2019, and the United Kingdom appears to be determined to leave. This departure will come into effect despite the 5.8 million signatures received on a petition to revoke Article 50, and despite the 1 million people that took to the streets on the 23rd March 2019 to protest Brexit. As the petition received more than 100,000 signatures, the petition will have to be discussed in Parliament. The discussion is set to take place on the 1st April 2019. Nevertheless, the government has claimed they will firmly maintain their position to not revoke Article 50, as doing so would “undermine our democracy”.
With the continuous delays, yet still no established plan, it is inevitable that confusion has erupted. This is particularly in what people should do next.
The date of Brexit will depend on whether Parliament is able to negotiate a deal or not. The 12th April is the date of Brexit without a deal, and the 22nd May will be the date of Brexit date with a deal. The different date will affect many aspects.
An example is the deportation rules. The new deportation regulations that will come into effect after Brexit, mean that it will be easier to deport European citizens that have committed crimes after this date. This will obviously depend heavily on the crime and the circumstances. Nonetheless, without a clear date or plan of Brexit, this time frame of these changes is also unclear.
Settled Status & Free Movement
The most important example is the uncertainty of settled status and the end of free movement.
In order to be eligible to apply for settled status, European citizens must have been settled and living in the United Kingdom before a certain date. This date will be dependant on the date the UK actually leave. The Home Office have pushed this date to the 31st December 2020 if the UK leave with a deal. Leaving without a deal will mark the cut off point as the 12th April 2019.
Moreover, once free movement officially ends, new regulations will come into place. Firstly, these will allow new arrivals from the EU into the UK for an initial period of 90 days. Secondly, European citizens will be able to apply for settled status from abroad. This will all be dependant on the date free movement actually ends.
Nevertheless, the EU settlement scheme seems to be fully running despite these delays. The deadlines of either the 31st December 2020 or the 12th April 2019 to apply for the EU settlement schemes appear to be applicable, regardless of the uncertainty of what will actually happen. Therefore, it is best to be safe and apply. The EU Settlement Scheme has also been made available through a mobile app.