Brexit mystery deepens

AS WE go to press just ahead of a vote in Parliament on the Withdrawal Agreement, it's becoming impossible to predict what will happen next with Brexit. Will there be a rapidly-concluded deal, a catastrophic "no deal", the prospect of a Norway Plus arrangement for the UK or even a possible second referendum on whether to stay in the EU?

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An EU flag at a London "People's Vote" march in June.

In view of this, it's unwise to give advice in print that will almost certainly be out of date, so we direct you to our latest guides at www.londonfreelance.org/fl/1811brex.html for our many members who are EU nationals in the UK and www.londonfreelance.org/fl/1811brit.html for the many UK nationals in the EU who are in the NUJ. Watch for updates online. Meanwhile, EU nationals in the UK are advised to register with their embassies for updates on what to do in case of Brexit.

To summarise: applications for the EU Settlement Scheme for EU nationals to register to stay in the UK after Brexit ("settled status") will open on 30 March 2019. EU nationals should start gathering up any proof of their stay and economic activity in the UK to "evidence their residence" for their application. UK Prime Minister Theresa May has already pledged to EU nationals, "your rights will be protected, even in the event of no deal".

Some EU countries with restrictions on being a dual national are making moves to relax these for UK nationals wishing to naturalise, in some cases for a limited period after Brexit. Stef Blok, the Foreign Minister of the Netherlands, recently pledged that even in the event of No Deal, his government "will ensure a decent solution to British citizens staying in our country after 30 March 2019... we won't let these people down" (the Freelance's own translation). UK nationals in the Netherlands will not need to apply for permanent residence post-Brexit: they will be contacted by the Immigration and Naturalisation Service and "invited" to apply.