Should the UK leave the EU without a deal on October 31, freedom of movement for EU citizens would seize effective immediately, the government spokeswoman announced on Monday.
“Freedom of movement as it currently stands will end on 31 October when the UK leaves the EU,” making specific reference to students and those seeking employment.
Theresa May’s government was also committed to ending free movement “as soon as possible” and not before a transition period had elapsed. However, Boris Johnson’s government is committed to delivering on ending EU immigration effective immediately.
The question now is how immigration officers will distinguish between EU citizens with EU Settled and pre-Settled status, come October. There are roughly one-million EU citizens that have subscribed to the program, with the deadline being 2020. There are approximately 3,6 EU citizens eligible for this status, which means that 2,6 million must subscribe prior to October 31st.
“Details of other changes immediately on 31 October for a new immigration system are currently being developed,” the government said, which means the civil service must now address this challenge prior to October 31st.
Johnson has rhetorically endorsed an Australian-style, skills-based immigration regime that was favoured by the Leave campaign.
The UK is exempting Irish citizens from the provision, which is governed by a bilateral regime known as The Common Travel Area that predates their respective membership of the EU. British and Irish will retain the right to move freely and reside in either jurisdiction and enjoy associated rights and entitlements to employment, healthcare, education, social benefits, and the right to vote in certain elections.
British media speculated that this is part of the prime ministers’ hardline stance, designed to put pressure on the EU to reopen negotiations.
“Now, of course, our friends and partners on the other side of the Channel are showing a little bit of reluctance at the moment to change their position. That’s fine – I’m confident that they will – but in the meantime, we have to get ready for a no-deal outcome,” Johnson told the BBC on Monday.