How will freedom of movement be affected after Brexit?
Once the United Kingdom leaves the European Union (called Brexit), there may be a lot of changes to how we live our everyday lives. There are many things we don’t yet know about. However, the government has been quick to offer assurances to the free movement rights of EU citizens currently living in the UK.
You may be worried about what rights you will have after Brexit. Whilst many things are in flux, there are a few facts we know.
Free movement rights for EU Citizens
In the media recently, there have been reports regarding plans to end freedom of movement after the UK leaves the EU, as well as what this means for EEA and Swiss citizens resident in the UK. If you have been asking “Can I remain in the UK after Brexit?”, then we’re pleased to report that you can, although you will have to apply for settled status.
EEA and Swiss citizens will have the absolute certainty of the right to live and remain in the UK. We can assure you of this. Please be advised that as long as EEA and Swiss citizens, and their family members, are resident in the UK before 31 October 2019, they will still have until 31 December 2020 to apply to the EU Settlement Scheme, even in the event of a no-deal exit.
What is the EU Settlement Scheme (EUSS)?
The EU Settlement Scheme (EUSS) was brought in after the Brexit vote in 2016. It ensures that those from EU countries can continue to legally stay in the UK if they wish to. All EU citizens currently living in the UK needs to apply to the EU Settlement Scheme to be allowed to stay in the country.
EU citizens who have lived in the UK for at least five years by the end of 2020 will be granted settled status. Those with less than five years of residency by the end of 2020 will be granted pre-settled status. Those with pre-settled statuses will need to apply for settled status once you have 5 years’ continued residence.
The scheme also covers those from Switzerland, Iceland, Liechtenstein and Norway. It’s important to remember that adults will need to apply on behalf of their children. Although initially there was a charge, it is now free to apply through this scheme.
Whether you receive settled or pre-settled status, your rights will be the same as any other British citizen. These include the ability to work in the UK and use the NHS. To understand your rights, and how to apply for settled status, the UK Government’s Settlement Scheme website has more details.
What to do next
If you aren’t sure or confident about how to apply online for settled status or would like more information on free movement rights, then please get in touch with us. We will be able to offer guidance and support to help you through this process. Book an appointment with us today to get started.