Brexit hub

Brexit - what now?


New immigration system from 1 January 2021

The UK government has published plans for a new ‘points-based’ immigration system, to take effect from 1 January 2021, when freedom of movement between the EU and the UK comes to an end.

For our members who operate in sectors with a large number of EU citizens these changes will have an impact. More detail on the future immigration system and how to prepare can be found in this guide from Fragomen.

EU citizens who live in the country before 31 December 2020 will continue to be able to live and work in the UK as previously. They should apply for settled or pre-settled status before 30 June 2021. 


There will be no immediate change to: 

The EU (Withdrawal) Act 2018 and EU (Withdrawal) Act 2020 contain provisions that effectively put any changes on hold until the implementation period is complete. However, the UK will not be allowed to take part in EU institutions, governance structures and decisions etc.

What is the implementation period?

From 11pm on Friday 31 January 2020 to 11pm on 31 December 2020 (unless extended).

The implementation period is a hold on the legal provisions between the UK and the EU. During this time the UK and the EU can negotiate on the new terms of their future relationship; largely based on the Withdrawal Agreement treaty and accompanying Political Declaration.

The treaty and declaration set out the administrative arrangements associated with the UK’s exit, the UK’s financial obligations as a withdrawing state and provisions confirming and protecting the rights of UK citizens residing in the EU and EU citizens residing in the UK.

They also contain provisions relating to the implementation, governance, dispute settlement and enforcement terms of the withdrawal and any transitional arrangements. Detail about Ireland and Northern Ireland, Gibraltar and Sovereign Base Areas in Cyprus is included too.

Please note, the Political Declaration is an aspirational text intended to guide the negotiations between the EU and the UK. It is not legally binding.

Brexit - what next?


Could there still be a no-deal? 


The UK and EU reached an agreement to enable the UK to leave the EU on Friday 31 January 2020. This is not an agreement on the future relationship between the UK and the EU. This is subject to negotiation between the UK and the other EU member states.

Because of the multiple extensions to the withdrawal period, the period for negotiation is now only 11 months. If no agreement is reached during the implementation period, a no deal is still possible and contingency plans may have to be implemented.

Previous guidance and legislation on a no deal may be relevant and the government has acknowledged that it would default to the World Trade Organisation terms for trade in a no deal. If you want to discuss further please email   


No deal checklist

Supporting documents for REC members

  • Access the Brexit Legal Guide

    Further legal guidance on Brexit for REC members

    Read more

  • Brexit FAQ's from our Legal Helpline

    Our legal advisers have developed an FAQs document answering questions from REC members

    Read the FAQs

  • Checklist for No-Deal Brexit

    10 step guidance to help REC members prepare for a No-Deal

    Read more

  • Do you have business within the EU?

    Read our guidance for member who have business within the EU

    Read more

REC Brexit reports

The REC has commissioned a series of reports that examine options for post-Brexit immigration policy. We have discussed these reports with government, putting the interest of our members to key decision makers. You can read our research reports, blogs and policy updates below.

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