Countdown to Brexit: 65 days – Immigration & Social Security post-Brexit

As MPs prepare to look for Brexit options in the chamber of the House of Commons, Parliament is working in the parallel to ensure that the necessary legislation is in place for a post-Brexit Britain to run.

The future of immigration and citizens rights is a vital element – and time is limited to complete the process if the UK leaves the EU on 29 March with no-deal.

The Immigration and Social Security Co-ordination (EU Withdrawal) Bill 2017-19 was published on immediately before Christmas.  Its First Reading in the House of Commons took place that day.  MPs are running to process the Bill through its Second Reading , which will take place on Wednesday 16 January 2019.

The Bill – together with its explanatory notes - are now available on the Parliamentary website. Factsheets and impact assessments in the event of a no-deal are available from the website.

It will end free movement; set out arrangements for social security

Meanwhile, the Danish government has prepared for all possible outcomes of the ongoing political tumult in the UK over Brexit, including a no-deal scenario, according to a message posted on the immigration ministry’s website.  The message is immediate action needed.  More details at the end of this posting.


The main measures in the Bill include:

repealing the main retained EU law relating to free movement and bringing EEA nationals and their family members under UK immigration control;

protecting the status of Irish citizens in UK immigration law once their EU free movement rights end; and

powers to amend, by regulations, retained EU law governing social security coordination, enabling policy changes to be delivered post EU Exit.

Summary of Clauses in the Bill

The Bill as introduced is in three parts. The provisions are as follows:

Part 1 – Measures relating to ending free movement

Clause 1 would establish Schedule 1 of the Bill. Schedule 1 makes provision to end the law of free movement in the UK.

Clause 2 would amend the Immigration Act 1971 to confirm that the rights of Irish citizens prevail, regardless of the repeal of free movement law. It would provide that Irish citizens do not require leave to enter or remain in the UK.

Clause 3 would amend section 61 of the UK Borders and Immigration Act 2007 to ensure that the Bill is included in any references to “the Immigration Acts” across legislation.

Clause 4 sets out the consequential provisions of the Bill. It is a Henry VIII clause which allows the government to amend primary and secondary legislation by statutory instrument. The provisions made by statutory instrument must be considered by the Secretary of State as ‘appropriate in consequence of, or in connection with’ any provision in Part 1 of the Bill.

Part 2 – Social security co-ordination

Part 2 of the Bill consists of Clause 5 and Schedules 2 and 3. Part 2 of the Bill would allow the Government (and/or where appropriate, a devolved authority) by regulations to modify retained EU legislation on social security co-ordination.   The Government states that this power would be necessary to enable it to deliver a range of options from EU exit day, and specifically to implement its preferred approach to social security co-ordination in a ‘no-deal’ scenario.   Any regulations would be subject to the affirmative procedure.

Part 3 – General

Clause 6 is an interpretive provision, defining terms used in the Bill.

Clause 7 would set out the Bill’s commencement and extent. The Bill would apply to all parts of the UK. The clause enables Her Majesty, by Order in Council, to extend its operation to any of the Channel Islands, the Isle of Man and any of the British overseas territories.

Except for clauses 6 and 7, the Bill would come into force on a day appointed by regulations.


The following documents are listed in the Bill's explanatory notes:

Denmark updates its no-deal advice to UK citizens

Denmark’s Ministry of Immigration and Integration has advised certain steps for British citizens in anticipation of the United Kingdom leaving the European Union without a withdrawal agreement.

“Necessary measures have been set in motion to enable authorities to manage the possible no-deal scenario from March 30th onwards,” the ministry wrote.

The following information relevant to Denmark-based British residents, should a no-deal Brexit occur, was outlined by the immigration authority:

British citizens living in Denmark who have not already obtained an EU registration certificate (EU-registreringsbevis), or have not already applied for one, are strongly advised to do so prior to March 29th.

Family members of Denmark-based British citizens required to apply for Danish residence via their family member’s status are also advised to do so before this date.

British citizens who qualify for permanent residency (tidsubegrænset ophold) in Denmark in accordance with EU rules are also advised to apply for this prior to March 29th.

“This will make it easier for you to prove you have the right to reside (in Denmark)” while enabling Danish authorities to see that residency had been approved prior to March 29th, the ministry wrote.

John ShuttleworthComment