The “Brexit” referendum on the UK’s membership of the European Union (EU) took place on 23 June 2016. The UK formally left the EU on 31 January 2020. On 1 February 2020, a transition period started which is due to end on 31 December 2020.
Under the terms of the Brexit deal, freedom to move and live within the EU and UK will continue during a planned transition period until the end of 31 December 2020.
How can EU, EEA and Swiss citizens and their family members secure their UK immigration status?
The EU Settlement Scheme provides a basis for UK resident EU, EEA and Swiss citizens and their family members to apply for the UK immigration status required to be able to continue living and working in the UK beyond the end of the transition period on 31 December 2020. Applicants must have started living in the UK by 31 December 2020 to be eligible to apply and the deadline for applying is 30 June 2021 – six months after the end of the transition period.
If applicants have lived in the UK continuously for five years by the end of the transition period (31 December 2020) then they will be granted “settled” status and will able to continue to reside and work in the UK permanently. This right can only be lost by leaving the UK for a period of more than five years, or four years for Swiss nationals.
If by the end of the transition period (31 December 2020) applicants have not lived in the UK for five years, then they will be granted “pre-settled” status and can stay in the UK for a further five years from the date this status is granted. They will be able to acquire the right to permanent residency once they have completed five years of continuous residence in the UK.
How will UK working rights be affected?
EU, EEA and Swiss citizens and their family members who make a successful application under the EU Settlement Scheme by the 30 June 2021 deadline will continue to have the same working rights in the UK as at present, whether as employed or self-employed.
If UK resident EU, EEA and Swiss citizens and their family members do not make an application under the EU Settlement Scheme by 30 June 2021, they will need to apply under the new future skills-based immigration system if they wish to stay and work in the UK after 30 June 2021.
The new future skills-based immigration system will apply to EU, EEA and Swiss citizens and their family members arriving in the UK on or after 1 January 2021.
Who can apply to the EU Settlement Scheme?
EU, EEA and Swiss citizens or a family member of an EU, EEA or Swiss citizen can apply. ‘Family members’ are defined as spouses, civil partners, children or grandchildren under 21, dependent children over 21 or the dependent parent or grandparent of the EU, EEA or Swiss citizen or their partner.
Unmarried partners who have been in a relationship akin to marriage for at least 2 years and other dependent relatives of the EU, EEA or Swiss citizen must first have a relevant document which was issued by the UK under the EEA Regulations to be eligible to apply.
Do Irish citizens and their family members need to apply to the EU Settlement Scheme?
Irish citizens enjoy a right of residence in the UK that is not reliant on the UK’s membership of the EU. This means that Irish citizens do not need to apply for status under the scheme. Their family members (who are not Irish citizens or British citizens and who do not have leave to enter or remain in the UK) will need to make an application for status under the EU Settlement Scheme.
How can Setfords help?
We can provide guidance on the UK immigration arrangements for EU, EEA and Swiss citizens and their family members and help you to secure your UK immigration and working status.
If you are an employer, we can provide assistance with Brexit planning and guidance on how to secure the immigration and working status of your EU, EEA and Swiss citizen employees and their family members in the UK to protect your skilled workforce.
Discuss your EU Settlement Scheme application with our Immigration Experts now
Quotes from previous clients
“Nicola assisted me with my EEA Family Permit application to join my partner in the UK. I had quite a complicated case (due to being an unmarried partner), but Nicola was unbelievably helpful and reassuring. She is particularly knowledgeable on the EEA Regulations and was able to recommend a suitable solution for every minor detail. Nicola is very organised and detail oriented. She was quick to respond to all emails and queries, regardless of how ‘silly’ I considered my concerns to be. I truly feel that Nicola cares about all of her clients and understands the difficult situations that some families are placed in, then does her best to help. Above all, Nicola is patient, friendly and very lovely and I cannot recommend her enough”.
“Nicola helped my partner secure her EEA Family Permit to come to the UK. As I had just started a new job here, we were placed in a difficult situation but Nicola definitely gave her all to ensure we had the best possible solution. She provided all the support she could and clarified all the possible outcomes. I find her extremely competent and an expert in her field. The main thing that sets her apart is that she genuinely cares about her clients and their situation, while being extremely professional. Thank you for everything Nicola!”.