What do we already know?
When the UK leaves the EU, with or without a deal, free movement of people will be allowed to continue for a transitional period from the exit date for approximately two years.
EU citizens and family members who want to continue to live and work in the UK beyond 30 June 2021 (or 31 December 2020 if there is a no-deal Brexit), will need to apply to the EU Settlement Scheme, which can be accessed primarily online here. See the Government’s guidance here. (Those who have indefinite leave to enter or remain, or who have citizenship, do not need to apply to the scheme).
The EU Settlement Scheme allows those EU citizens residing in the UK to continue to live, work and study here. It also means they continue to be eligible for:
- Public services, such as healthcare and schools;
- Public funds and pensions; and
- British citizenship, if they want to apply and meet the requirements.
To be eligible, an individual:
- Must be an EU citizen or a non-EU family member of an EU citizen, this includes those with a UK permanent residence document. You do not need to apply if you have indefinite leave to remain or enter, or you are an Irish citizen, but you can if you want to.
- Must be resident in the UK by 31 December 2020 (if a deal is agreed with the EU). Those who have been resident for five continuous years will be eligible for ‘settled’ status. Those who have been a resident for fewer than five continuous years will be eligible for ‘pre-settled’ status.
- Must not be a serious or persistent criminal, a threat to national security, or have a deportation order, exclusion order, exclusion decision or removal decision against them.
The EU Settlement Scheme was due to be subject to fees. However, on 21 January 2019 the Government announced that this would no longer be the case. Those who have already paid a fee (as part of the phased roll out) may have their fees reimbursed to them.
The online application process for the EU Settlement Scheme was opened on 30 March 2019 and applications must be made by 30 June 2021 (or 31 December 2020 if there is no deal).
The Government has confirmed that in the event of a no-deal Brexit, applicants to the Settlement Scheme must have been living in the UK since before exit day (currently 31 October 2019).