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.
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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:

  • There will be a transition period (March 29, 2019 – July 1, 2020) during which UK nationals and their qualifying dependents will maintain their rights to residence, employment, and study in the Netherlands.
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