Photo of Elizabeth (Liz) Espín Stern

Elizabeth Espín Stern, a partner in Mayer Brown's Washington DC office, leads the firm’s Global Mobility & Migration practice, which forms part of the Employment & Benefits group. She is a seasoned veteran, advising on US and global immigration, HR and mobility services. She is consistently ranked as a leading business immigration lawyer by Chambers GlobalChambers USAWho's Who LegalThe International Who's Who of Business Lawyers, and national and local publications. In addition, she has been named in Best Lawyers in AmericaSuper Lawyers and "Women in Law Awards 2014" by Lawyer Monthly and named one of National Law Journal’s “Outstanding Women Lawyers 2015.” She spearheads Mayer Brown's new global worksite management initiative. This "Global People Solution" offers multinational clients, in a variety of sectors including financial services, IT, defense, telecommunications and multimedia, a comprehensive compliance and risk management program in connection with their mobile workforce. Liz regularly speaks and writes about immigration policies and contributes to major news agencies and publications, including Law 360, Quartz.com, Global Business News and a host of global HR publications.

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At times it felt like we would never cross the Brexit finish line, but we’ve done it.” – Prime Minister Boris Johnson.

The dramatic June 2016 referendum in which 51.9% voted to leave initiated a long and arduous journey with multiple elections, extensions, and cliff-hangers. Tomorrow, on 31 January 2020 at 11 p.m. GMT, the Brexit “finish line” will be crossed, concluding the process that was triggered when, in March 2017, the UK government invoked Article 50 and initiated the withdrawal procedure. Britain’s Parliament has now ratified a Withdrawal Agreement  with the EU via the European Union (Withdrawal Agreement) Act 2020. The European Parliament, in turn, voted to approve the agreement yesterday. This means that all of the formal ratification procedures have now been completed.

But even with the divorce agreed, the UK and EU still face negotiation of the terms of their future relationship. A transition (implementation) phase will occur in the interim, lasting until 31 December 2020 (or longer, if the government exercises its one-time right in July 2020 to extend the transition for two years). Negotiations during the transition need to cover an enormous range of issues, including trade, customs, and regulatory alignment (or nonalignment). This includes a new legal framework for immigration control after January 2021, when the transition period is set to end.
Continue Reading Across the Brexit Finish Line – And Now What?

After almost a decade of coalition and minority governments in the United Kingdom (“UK”), Prime Minister Boris Johnson won an 80-seat majority in the December 2019 General Election with the simple slogan: “Get Brexit Done.” This mandate meant that, after years of wrangling and tortuous procedural battles in Parliament, the Withdrawal Agreement Bill was passed and, on 23 January 2020, received Royal Assent to become law as the European Union (Withdrawal Agreement) Act 2020.  Just over three and a half years since the referendum, this means that the UK will formally leave the EU on 31 January 2020. But what happens next with respect to free movement?

Continue Reading European Union (Withdrawal Agreement) Act 2020 To Usher In Brexit on 31 January 2020

Three days before the UK was due to exit the bloc, ambassadors from the other 27 countries of the EU agreed to delay Brexit for up to three months.  The agreement by the EU, made in Brussels on October 28, 2019, allows the UK to leave earlier if it and the EU both ratify the withdrawal deal that Prime Minister Johnson negotiated with the EU earlier this month (the “Withdrawal Agreement”).  European Council President Donald Tusk announced the decision on Twitter, stating that “The EU 27 has agreed to accept the UK’s request for a #Brexit flextension until 31 January 2020.”  The decision requires formal written procedures from the UK and the EU27, which are expected to be completed imminently.

Continue Reading EU Grants the UK an Extension of Brexit Until January 31, 2020

Members of Parliament narrowly passed an amendment during an emergency session on Saturday, October 19, 2019, to postpone the decision on whether to vote “yes” or “no” to Prime Minister Boris Johnson’s Brexit deal.  Parliament said it needed more time to review the deal, which Prime Minister Johnson concluded last week with European leaders.  The primary aim of the amendment is to ensure the UK cannot leave the EU on October 31, 2019, the current Brexit date, without enacting detailed legislation governing the UK’s withdrawal from the EU.

Saturday’s vote effectively required the Prime Minister to request a third extension of the withdrawal date, which would postpone Brexit until January 31, 2020.  Prime Minister Johnson, who had vowed never to seek an extension, sent an unsigned letter to the EU asking for the required three-month extension.  But he also sent a signed letter to European Council President Donald Tusk urging EU leaders to turn down the extension request, and has stated he will bring his proposal back before Parliament on Monday, October 21, 2019.


Continue Reading UK Parliament Passes Amendment to Postpone Brexit Vote in Emergency Session on Saturday, October 19, 2019

Draft Deal Does Not Change Previously Announced Scheme for Citizens’ Rights or Movement of People

Yesterday, negotiators from the United Kingdom and the European Union agreed to a draft Brexit deal. The proposed withdrawal agreement would replace the one negotiated by former Prime Minister Theresa May. The new agreement addresses the timetable for a transition

The prospect of extending the deadline for the UK’s withdrawal from the European Union past 31 October 2019, the Brexit date, remains uncertain. UK employers accordingly do not know whether they will have to address the consequences of withdrawal imminently. But right now they can take five key steps to protect their workforce—smart measures regardless

On Thursday, August 8, 2019, the US Department of Justice (DOJ) announced that it will hold a public workshop on September 23 to discuss “the role of antitrust enforcement in labor markets and promoting robust competition for the American worker.”  This workshop marks another step in the government’s ongoing efforts to address what it sees

On July 24, 2019, Boris Johnson became Prime Minister of the Kingdom.  Mr. Johnson has said that if a withdrawal agreement is not concluded between the UK and the European Union (“EU”) by October 31, 2019, the UK will leave the EU without a deal.  Mayer Brown’s Chris Chapman, partner in the Litigation & Dispute

US Immigration and Customs Enforcement (“ICE”) has planned a series of nationwide raids this weekend to detain and remove thousands of undocumented immigrants, according to multiple national media reports. ICE officials have confirmed that agents will target at least 2,000 undocumented immigrants in at least 10 US cities for removal. In our Legal Update, we