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?

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 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

Last week’s series of Brexit votes in Parliament could mark a profound shift in the trajectory of the UK’s exit from the EU. However, businesses still do not know when Brexit will happen (if at all) and what the UK’s relationship with the EU and the rest of the world will be.

In the space of three days, the House of Commons voted (i) on Tuesday to reject the UK government’s negotiated withdrawal agreement in the second so-called “meaningful vote”; (ii) on Wednesday to reject a no-deal Brexit, with even Cabinet ministers defying the Conservative party whip to vote against it; and (iii) on Thursday to request an extension to Article 50 of the Lisbon Treaty to delay the UK’s exit from the EU. And if that was not enough, on Thursday the House also voted marginally against exercising more control over Brexit and overwhelmingly against a measure calling for a second referendum, with even supporters of a second referendum calling on MPs not to back it because it was not the right time.


Continue Reading Brexit: Heat But No Light for the UK’s International Businesses

With the March 29, 2019 date for Brexit looming and no deal to address the separation yet approved, the House of Commons voted on March 14, 2019, to defer Brexit until at least June 30, 2019.  The vote of 413 in favor versus 202 against provided a clear majority of 211 for the government, a move that may avert the expected chaos that a “no deal” scenario would pose.

By law, however, the delay can only be authorized by the EU, with unanimous approval of the leaders of the remaining 27 countries in the bloc.  The prime minister faces a significant challenge in seeking that approval, as EU officials have said they will permit a delay only if Britain makes a fundamental shift in its approach to Brexit.  Although the bloc could consider a delay to Brexit, it  has made clear that after two years negotiating with Ms. May, it is not open to more talks on her deal, meaning the prime minister needs to find a way to convince British lawmakers to accept it.

The prime minister thus plans to make a third attempt to have parliament agree to a divorce deal — which the MPs have already rejected twice — next week, in advance of an upcoming EU summit.  Lawmakers also rejected, by a vote of 334 to 85, a second referendum on EU membership.
Continue Reading MPs Vote To Extend Brexit Deadline for Three Months

As the final Brexit date approaches, EU-member state governments are putting in place specific plans for British nationals living within the EU after March 29, 2019.  Earlier this week the Dutch Immigration and Naturalisation Service (“IND”) shared a template letter it will begin sending to UK nationals legally residing in the Netherlands regarding the continuation of residence post Brexit in case there is no withdrawal agreement ratified between the UK and the EU.  Key points contained in the letter include: