Ankara Agreement Set to End with Brexit on December 31

Established under the Ankara Agreement, the Turkish European Communities Association Agreement (ECAA) played a major role in boosting and enhancing economic, political and cultural relations between the European Union and Turkey. When the United Kingdom joined the European Union in 1973, it automatically became bound by the terms and conditions of this agreement.

With the UK now scheduled to officially leave the European Union on December 31, 2020 the Ankara Agreement in its entirety will no longer apply in the UK. The British government has indicated its intention to preserve the rights of Turkish businesspersons already settled and doing business in the country, while extending rights of settlement to resident ECAA workers and ECAA businesspersons and their family members.

However, on-going uncertainty as to the terms under which the United Kingdom will leave the European Union are making it difficult to predict what may happen long-term, with regard to Turkish nationals already in the UK or seeking to gain entry.

Indefinite Leave to Remain (ILR)

An update to existing immigration rules in 2018 enabled Turkish nationals within the UK operating as ECAA businesspersons and their family members to apply for indefinite leave to remain. In order for eligible Turkish businesspersons to qualify, several requirements must be met including the following:

  • A minimum unbroken residency period of five years
  • Adequate UK language skills and cultural knowledge
  • Ability to pay the application fee of £2,389

Unless these primary ILR requirements can be met by the individual, it is likely that they will be able to successfully apply for a limited extension to their leave to remain in the UK.

The new terms applicable to Turkish nationals also allow for children to settle in the UK at the same time as the main applicant, which includes children over 21 years of age with specific dependency requirements.

There is also a new option for spouses of Turkish businesspersons operating in the UK to qualify for additional limited leave to remain, in order to subsequently accrue the five years of continuous residency needed to apply for indefinite leave to remain.

A No-Deal Brexit Scenario

The formal deadline for Brexit negotiations is fast approaching, yet little to no progress has been made on either side. As a result, the likelihood of the United Kingdom crashing out of the EU without a deal is higher than at any previous point.

In the event that the United Kingdom leaves the European Union without a deal, immigration restrictions and regulations for ECAA workers and citizens could be immediately and radically overhauled.

Now is the time to seek expert legal advice if you have any questions or concerns whatsoever regarding UK immigration policy and your eligibility for IRL.

For more information on how Brexit and the termination of the Ankara Agreement could affect you, your family and your business, book your obligation-free consultation with a member of the team at Aristone Solicitors today.

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