Brexit January 2021: what has changed?
Posted on 15/01/21
Welcome to this round-up of Brexit legislation and guidance.
This is the main Act to make provisions in connection with the withdrawal of the UK from the EU.
The Act saves and incorporates into UK domestic law most of EU law that had effect in the UK on 31 December 2020 as ‘retained EU law’.
Retained EU case law is defined under section 6(7) of the Act as any principles laid down by, and any decisions of, the European Court of Justice (ECJ) as they have effect in EU law immediately before 31 December 2020.
These principles and decisions from the ECJ are subject to certain exceptions and modifications under UK law.
Secondary legislation will still have effect in certain circumstances and apply to some individuals after that date. The Immigration (European Economic Area) Regulations 2016 are an example of such secondary legislation.
These Regulations provide details on which courts are not bound by retained EU case law.
UK courts are bound to follow judgments of the ECJ issued before 31 December 2020. There are exceptions: the Supreme Court, the Court of Appeal and other appellate courts that have been given the power to depart from ECJ judgements can do so by applying certain tests.
This Act ends free movement rights under retained EU law after 31 December 2020.
From 1 January 2021, citizens of these areas and their family members will require permission to enter and remain in the UK under the Immigration Act 1971:
- EFTA states of Iceland, Norway and Liechtenstein
These Regulations amend some domestic legislation as a consequence of, or in connection with, the end of free movement law on 31 December 2020. The amendments relate to immigration, nationality and benefits and services.
The effect is to align EEA citizens with non-EEA citizens in the UK’s immigration system while protecting the rights of Irish citizens and EEA citizens and their family members who have been granted status under the EU Settlement Scheme.
These Regulations came into force on 31 December 2020 and give effect to aspects of the following agreements concerning the residence rights of EEA citizens and their family members:
- EU Withdrawal Agreement
- EEA EFTA Separation Agreement
- Swiss Citizens’ Rights Agreement
The Regulations specify the deadline of 30 June 2021 for an application to the EU Settlement Scheme by EEA citizens and their family members resident in the UK on 31 December 2020.
They protect the existing residence rights in the UK of EEA citizens who were lawfully resident in the UK by virtue of EU free movement law immediately before 31 December 2020, but do not yet have status under the Scheme, and of their relevant family members.
They provide for those who were not physically in the UK on 31 December 2020 but are to be treated as resident in the UK under the Agreements.
They preserve access to homelessness assistance and benefits from 31 December 2020 to 30 June 2021 (“the grace period”) for those with temporary protection who meet the eligibility criteria under retained EU law, including people with pending applications to the Scheme.
These Regulations provide for EEA nationals who, by 31 December 2020, were working or self-employed in the UK but living elsewhere (“frontier workers”) to continue to work in the UK for as long as they remain a frontier worker.
This guidance explains the rights of European Economic Area (EEA) and Swiss citizens to access social housing and homelessness assistance in England after 1 January 2021.
DWP staff guidance
DWP issued the following memos with advice for decision makers:
ADM memo 29/20: Right to reside – The Immigration and Social Security Co-ordination (EU Withdrawal) Act 2020 (Consequential, Saving, Transitional and Transitory Provisions) (EU Exit) Regulations 2020 – UC
Allocations and homelessness codes of guidance changed
On 31 December 2020 MHCLG issued a new Allocation of accommodation: guidance for local authorities and updated chapter 7 of the Homelessness code of guidance for local authorities to cover changes to eligibility rules for EEA nationals after Brexit.