Impact of Brexit on the immigration status of EU citizens in the UK

UK residents who are in the progress of going through immigration may be wondering how Brexit will affect their approval status.

In 2020, the United Kingdom formally withdrew from the European Union and the European Atomic Energy Community after 47 years, putting the immigration status of thousands of potential citizens into question with new rules set to take effect June 2021

To assist with the continuity of immigration applications, an updated system was put into place to ensure those applying for citizenship could continue to do so. This new immigration system applies to EU citizens and non-EU citizens.

As of January 2021, EU citizens moving to the UK will need a visa to be able to work. This also applies to European Economic Area nationals and Swiss nations.

Irish citizens exempt from these rules are allowed to work in the UK without a visa.

What Are The Benefits of Brexit For Immigrants?

  • Now easier for potential immigrants to gain work visas
  • Lower skill levels and reduced salary requirements.
  • No labour market test is required.
  • Now easier for employers to add foreign nationals to their workforce.

How Does Brexit Affect My Status in the UK?

Under the new EU Settlement Scheme you’ll be able to continue living and working in the UK after 30 June 2021 under one of two status categories:

Settled Status

This is given to residents who have lived in the UK continuously for 5 years for a minimum of 6 months over a 12 month period, with the exception of:

  • one period of up to 12 months for an important reason (for example, childbirth, serious illness, study, vocational training, or an overseas work posting)
  • compulsory military service of any length
  • the time you spent abroad as a Crown servant, or as the family member of a Crown servant
  • the time you spent abroad in the armed forces, or as the family member of someone in the armed forces

Foreign nationals living in the UK for 5 years in the past or have not left for more than 5 years in a row can also be considered a resident as of December 31, 2020. If you wish to stay in the UK you must ensure you have settled status.

Pre-Settled Status

Pre-Settled status can be applied to non-citizens who have not lived in the UK for 5 years. To qualify for pre-settled status, you must have started living in the UK before December 31, 2020. It is important to take note of the time you entered the UK to ensure your legal status under the new EU Settlement Scheme. Family members of an EU, EEA, or Swiss citizen with pre-settlement status can be included in the pre-settlement designation if they are applying as an existing close family member. Obtaining pre-settlement status will allow you to stay in the UK for up to 5 years from the date you receive your pre-settled status.

What Is The Deadline To Apply?

As the deadline to meet new EU Settlement guidelines approaches, there have been calls by the Joint Council for the Welfare of Immigrants (JCWI) to continue to simplify the UK immigration process and reduce fees which can top $12,500.

To ensure the continued processing of immigration applications, Qualifying EEA nationals must apply for settlement or pre-settlement status by June 30, 2021.