Pre-Brexit EU Settlement Scheme introduced in UK

New scheme comes in to protect the rights of EU citizens arriving in UK before December 2020

Recently, I visited a hospital and spoke to a nurse who was due to go on holiday next week with his Italian wife. He told me that they had planned to visit his wife’s family in Italy, but that they had recently cancelled the holiday due to the fear that she would not be allowed back into the UK. His wife had lived in the UK and worked in the NHS continuously for five years.

It’s concerning to see this level of fear rising among EU nationals living in the UK ahead of Brexit, mostly due to lack of Government clarity around what happens next. Below, I’ve set out the EU Settlement Scheme, and the steps that EU nationals living in the UK need to take ahead of Brexit.

The EU Settlement Scheme has been introduced to protect the rights of EU citizens arriving to the UK before the end of the Brexit implementation period on December 31 2020. The Government has announced that there will be no change to the current rights of EU nationals and their family members until December 31 2020, and they are able to enter and leave the UK as normal.

To ensure EU citizens’ rights:

  • EU citizens who, by December 31 2020, have been continuously (for more than 6 months each year) and lawfully living in the UK for five or more years should apply to stay in the UK indefinitely by getting ‘Settled Status’. That means they will be free to live in the UK, have access to public funds and services, and go on to apply for British citizenship (once they are eligible to do so).
  • EU citizens who arrive on or before December 31 2020, but have not been living in the UK continuously and lawfully for five years when the UK leaves the EU, should apply for ‘Pre-Settled Status’ allowing them to stay in the UK until they have reached the five-year threshold, when they’ll be able to apply for settled status.

If you’re an Irish citizen, have indefinite leave to remain or to enter the UK, or already have British citizenship, you won’t need to apply for either settled or pre-settled status. Your rights will continue as normal after Brexit.

At present, this scheme will not apply to any EU citizen arriving to the UK after December 31 2020.

The deadline for applications for settled status and pre-settled status is the June 30 2021. The fee for the application is £65 for anyone 16 and over, and £32.50 for anyone aged 16 and under. You can sign up for updates and get more information on the fees on the following government pages: https://www.gov.uk/settled-status-eu-citizens-families/applying-for-settled-status and https://www.gov.uk/settled-status-eu-citizens-families.

If you’d like further advice on Employment or Immigration law, please get in touch.