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EEA citizens and Brexit

BREXIT: 10 things you need to know in 2020

There is not going to be any change in the rights of EU/EEA and Swiss citizens (and family members) until then. If you started living in the UK by 31 December 2020, you will be able to continue under the pre-Brexit rules, including freedom of movement, and apply for settlement and then British Citizenship. You will need to register under EU Settlement Scheme before the deadline of 30 June 2021. 

We have to reassure our clients (current and new ones) that EU Settlement Scheme is indeed working well, despite the dramatic stories in the media – they have to sell the news! In reality, it is an online system, free of charge, and it is quick and easy to use. There are indeed sometimes technical rejections, but you would have a chance to challenge “a robotic decision of a computer” by submitting your documents for “a human officer” to consider. 

You will still be able to bring direct family members to join you in the UK under pre-Brexit rules (which are easier and cheaper), as long as the relationship existed on the cut-off date above. Eligible family members: husband/wife, unmarried partner (lived together for 2 years), children under 21yo, dependent parents. 

For example, after 31/12/2020 (or on 29/03/2019 in case of ‘no deal’), an EU citizen can still bring a non-EU husband or wife to the UK under pre-Brexit rules, without having to apply under the UK law as spouses of UK citizens do, which entails the strict Financial Requirement £18,600 and very expensive government fees. But only if the marriage existed on 31/12/2020.

Assuming you came to the UK before the Brexit cut-off date above, you should register for a settled or pre-settled status. Settled status is granted if you have worked in the UK for 5 years. 

Pre-settled status is granted if you haven’t lived in the UK for 5 years; or if you have but the UK authorities cannot locate 5 years’ of tax and National Insurance records, such as if you were studying or not working for some time. You will have a choice to accept the pre-settled status or to send further evidence to try and secure a settled status. 

When you apply into EU Settlement Scheme, the UK Government will be checking HMRC tax records as well as information from other government departments. Unless you challenge your pre-settled status (and believe you should have a Settled status instead), you won’t need to provide any supporting documents, such as payslips or utility bills. There will be no need for comprehensive sickness insurance for students and self-sufficient. 

It is free to register under the EU Settlement Scheme. If you were charged £65 when applying into it during the months leading to 29 March 2019, your fee will be refunded by the Government. 

If there is a ‘deal’: 30 June 2021.

If there is ‘no deal’: 31 December 2020. 

Unlike in the past, applications to the EU Settlement Scheme are online. Your original passport or ID card are not required in almost all cases (the Government system will already have your ID records). 

Firstly, you need a Settled status under the new EU Settlement Scheme or Indefinite Leave to Remain (ILR), or an EEA document certifying permanent residence (EEA PR). We call this rule: No ILR – no Citizenship! 

If you have an EEA PR document, your approval letter says when you qualified for it. This can be months or even years earlier than the date if was issued. You can apply for British Citizenship 1 year after the date you qualified, as on that letter. 

If you have an Indefinite Leave to Remain (ILR), you can apply for British Citizenship 1 year after it was issued.  This includes when the only ‘PR’ document/status you have is under the EU Settlement Scheme (settled status under this scheme is issued under Appendix EU of the Immigration Rules). Another example is ILR issued before your country joined the EU. 

Your company needs to check the employees’ right to work legally in the UK, based on the above. You can also use this link on UK Visas and Immigration website to check one’s immigration status. 

We have designed a simple guide in plain language to help you with understanding the most common UK visa types, what they look like and whether they allow to rent a property legally. Practical and very useful for landlords and letting agents. Read on our blog here: 10 simple Right to Rent checks.