By: Deirdre M. Murphy

The following is directed to organizations with a presence in the UK or who anticipate the need to place talent at a UK work site.

Seyfarth Shaw’s Global Mobility Practice hosts attorneys licensed to practice in the UK, Canada, Ireland and Germany. The group has the capability to assist clients with obtaining work and residence visas for over 70 jurisdictions around the world.  If we can assist you in placing talent, please call your Seyfarth attorney. We will be happy to help you.

Seyfarth Synopsis: On March 14th, the UK Parliament voted in favor of an extension to Article 50, which is the legal mechanism to enable the UK’s exit from the EU. The non-binding vote seeks to delay the departure date by three months, from March 29th to June 30th, 2019. However, any extension must be agreed upon by the other 27 EU countries.

What happens next?

After a number of high-profile votes in the UK Parliament this week, the possibility of a delay to Brexit is increasingly likely. Following rejection of the revised Withdrawal Agreement and a no-deal Brexit scenario, Parliament voted on March 14th to seek an extension of the negotiating period to June 30, 2019. The motion was approved by 413 to 202 votes.

The British Prime Minister, Theresa May, intends to hold another vote on the Withdrawal Agreement by March 20th. If it is approved, having been overwhelmingly rejected twice, a short-term extension will allow Parliament time to pass the necessary legislation before a final departure date. If the Agreement is rejected again, the Prime Minister may approach the EU to request a longer extension.

UK Immigration: What is the impact?

Regardless of the UK Parliament’s standpoint, any extension of the Brexit negotiating period must be ratified by all 27 remaining EU countries. A summit of EU leaders will take place on March 21st.

If an extension is agreed upon, then the UK will remain a full member of the EU during that extended period, until a new departure date is confirmed. EU nationals in the UK, and British nationals in the EU, will retain full rights of free movement during that time.

If the Withdrawal Agreement is approved by the UK Parliament at the third attempt next week, and the UK exits the EU on March 29th as planned, a transitional period will also allow free movement to continue until December 31st 2020.

In the event that the EU rejects an extension request, and no agreement has been reached in the meantime, the withdrawal process moves ahead in a no-deal scenario with the UK exiting the EU on March 29th. In this situation, only EU citizens who are resident in the UK by March 29th will be guaranteed the right to remain in the UK permanently.

We will continue to monitor and report on developments in relation to Brexit as events unfold.