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ALERT: Britain Leaves the European Union

January 31, 2020

The United Kingdom will exit the European Union on January 31 at 11 PM GMT (6 PM EST), bringing an end to the process that began with the 2016 Brexit Referendum. On January 24, 2020, Prime Minister Boris Johnson signed the Withdrawal Agreement, witnessed by the officials from the European Union and Her Majesty’s Foreign Office. The document was transmitted to the European Council, where Council President Charles Michel signed with European Commission President Ursula von der Leyen.

Now begins the transition period, scheduled to last until December 31, 2020. During this time, the European Union and the United Kingdom will negotiate important aspects of the future relationship between the two sovereign entities. Topics to be reviewed during this period includes:

  • Law enforcement, security, and travel regulations
  • Questions regarding territorial and natural resource access
  • Customs and trade agreements between the European Union, the United Kingdom, and other international trade partners.

At this time, the United Kingdom is still in the process of developing an immigration policy to come into effect after the year-long grace period scheduled to end in December 2020. The Withdrawal Agreement Bill, which was given Royal Assent and will come into force on January 31, 2020, will be voted on by the European Parliament, and includes important factors regarding domestic and international law:

  • It sets out the parameters for the Northern Ireland- Great Britain border, establishing a customs and regulatory border between the two
  • It sets up an independent monitoring authority in which European Union nationals in the United Kingdom can lodge complains if mistreated by the United Kingdom government, and sets out the duty of the government to report on complaints lodged with the monitoring authority

During this transition period, also known as the implementation period, the United Kingdom will remain in both the European Union customs union and single market. This means that until December 31, 2020, traveling to and from the European Union will remain the same. Freedom of movement (the right to live and work in the European Union) remains accessible and in place during the transition period. Finally, trade between the United Kingdom and the European Union will remain the same as trade agreements are negotiated.

Stay connected with Erickson Immigration Group to receive updates regarding the transition period, and reach out if there any questions regarding Brexit next steps.