EU nationals will be allowed to live and work in the UK after 31 October even under a no-deal Brexit, the government has announced.
The Home Office announcement contradicts previous Brexit position statements which said the EU freedom of movement policy would end immediately after 31 October under a no-deal.
The new scheme will be called the European Temporary Leave to Remain scheme (Euro-TLR) and will cover EU, EEA and Swiss nationals who move to the UK between 1 November and the end of 2020 who will be allowed to stay in the UK up to three years.
Guidance published on Friday states that applications to the new Euro-TLR scheme will be simple and free and will be made after arrival in the UK.
There will be no need for EU citizens travelling to the UK after Brexit to make any special arrangements.
Meanwhile, Irish citizens’ rights are unaffected by these new arrangements. They can continue to come to the UK to live and work, as they do now. This means that the current freedom of movement will continue until planned changes at the start of 2021.
NFU president Minette Batters said farmers and growers will be relieved.
“I heard from alarmed farm businesses across the country who feared ending freedom of movement immediately after Brexit would cut off a critical supply of people coming to work in essential roles across British food and farming, causing untold impacts on farm and the supply chain.
“Questions still remain about the UK’s future immigration policy and it is essential that this is fit for purpose and based on business needs, reflecting the importance of both permanent and seasonal workers to the industry.
“Fruit, veg and flower growers are still seeing a tightening of the seasonal labour supply and we are continuing to ask Government to expand the number of permits in its seasonal workers pilot scheme, in preparation for a transition to a fully functioning scheme in 2021.
“It is vital the Government recognises the importance of overseas workers coming to work in the UK, helping to deliver the safe, traceable and affordable food to the nation.”
Source: Farmers Journal