Connecticut, US

Mar 22 2019

European Union Conditionally Approves Brexit Extension

European Union, United Kingdom

At a Glance

The European Union has approved an extension of the United Kingdom’s exit from the European Union under the following two scenarios, both of which would require UK legislative amendment to take effect:

  • If the UK parliament approves the Withdrawal Agreement before March 29, 2019, the European Union has agreed to an extension until May 22, 2019. After this date, an approved agreement would take effect and it is expected that a Brexit transitional period would commence.
  • If the UK parliament does not approve the Withdrawal Agreement next week, the European Union has agreed to an extension until April 12, 2019 to allow the United Kingdom to indicate its preferred Brexit approach before this date. This would include a no-deal Brexit, a longer extension, approving an exit agreement or revoking Brexit. A no-deal Brexit would remain the legal default and could occur on April 12, 2019.

 

Employers are advised to set up contingency plans in case of a no-deal Brexit on April 12, 2019.


The situation

The European Union has approved an extension of the United Kingdom’s exit from the European Union until May 22, 2019, provided that the UK parliament approves an agreement before March 29, 2019. If an agreement is not approved before that time, the extension could be until April 12, 2019 to allow the United Kingdom to indicate its preferred Brexit approach before this date.

A closer look

  • Three-month extension requested. The UK government formally requested that the date of the United Kingdom’s exit from the European Union be extended for three months to allow time for a deal to be agreed while preventing the United Kingdom from having to participate in the European Parliament elections between May 23-26, 2019.
  • Conditional approval by the European Union. The European Union has conditionally approved an extension under two scenarios, both of which would require UK legislative amendment to take effect:
    • Withdrawal Agreement is approved before March 29, 2019. If the UK parliament approves the Withdrawal Agreement – which details the terms of the United Kingdom’s exit from the European Union – before March 29, 2019, the European Union has agreed to an extension until May 22, 2019. After that date, the agreement would take effect and it is expected that a Brexit transitional period would commence.
    • Withdrawal Agreement is not approved. If the UK parliament does not approve the Withdrawal Agreement next week, the European Union has agreed to an extension until April 12, 2019 to allow the United Kingdom to indicate its preferred Brexit approach before this date. This would include a no-deal Brexit, a longer extension (e.g. to arrange a second referendum or seek a mutually-agreed alternative deal), or revoking Brexit. If the United Kingdom seeks a longer extension, it must decide to hold European Parliament elections before April 12, 2019.
  • No-deal Brexit remains default. If the UK parliament does not approve the Withdrawal Agreement next week and does not confirm an acceptable alternative approach before April 12, 2019, a no-deal Brexit would remain the legal default and could occur on April 12, 2019.
  • Third vote on Withdrawal Agreement. The UK parliament is expected to schedule a third vote on the Withdrawal Agreement next week if there is sufficient parliamentary support.

 

Impact

  • Employers. Employers are advised to set up contingency plans in case of a no-deal Brexit on April 12, 2019.
  • EU nationals in the United Kingdom. Eligible EU nationals and their family members are advised to register under the public pilot of the EU Settlement Scheme.
  • UK nationals in Europe. Political commitments have been made in the European Union, European Economic Area and Switzerland that UK nationals will be able to continue living and working in the country where they currently reside. Current residence permit and registration requirements should be met to maximise post-Brexit rights. UK nationals and their family members should benefit from the two-week extension until April 12, 2019 to complete such formalities. UK nationals and their family members should be aware of potential additional processes that may be required after Brexit.

 

Looking ahead

Fragomen will be closely monitoring the developments and providing commentary and analysis.

Brexit has been an incredibly complex and uncertain political issue that carries risks to your business. Please contact a Fragomen immigration professional for assistance in planning contingency arrangements in a single project.

For more information, please visit Fragomen's dedicated Brexit site, which contains news, FAQs, and analysis/commentary in the form of blogs, videos, webcasts and events.

This alert is for informational purposes only. If you have any questions, please contact the global immigration professional with whom you work at Fragomen or send an email to londoninfo@fragomen.com / beneluxinfo@fragomen.com.