Following the UK’s departure from the European Union, EEA nationals and their family members no longer automatically have the right to live and work in the UK. EEA nationals who were residing in the UK on or before 31 December 2020 will need to make an application to the EU Settlement Scheme in order to preserve these rights.
The deadline to apply to the EU Settlement Scheme is 30 June 2021 which is fast approaching. This deadline will have an impact on both individuals and their employers.
Individuals who are eligible to apply for the EU Settlement Scheme (EU, EEA or Swiss nationals, and their family members) must make their applications by 30 June 2021.
An application to the EU Settlement Scheme will preserve the individual’s right to live and work in the UK. Under the Scheme:
- an individual will receive either settled status (if they can provide evidence they have been resident in the UK for five or more years) or pre-settled status (if they have been resident in the UK for fewer than five years);
- pre-settled status can be converted to settled status once the individual has accrued five years’ residence in the UK;
- once an individual has settled status (also known as ‘indefinite leave to remain’) they will not need to make any further immigration applications to remain in the UK; and
- they will then be eligible to apply for British citizenship after 12 months.
Applications to the Scheme can be made online, and will require proof of identity and evidence of the length of residence in the UK.
EEA nationals and their family members need to make an application to the Scheme even if they currently have a UK residence permit or residence card, as these will no longer be recognised as valid by the UK after 30 June 2021.
There are some very limited exceptions to the 30 June deadline, such as for spouses / civil partners of Swiss citizens and children who are born or adopted in the UK on or after 1st April 2021. In these circumstances, we recommend taking legal advice before making an application.
To be eligible to apply for the Scheme, the individual must have been resident in the UK on or before 31 December 2020. EEA nationals arriving in the UK on or after 1st January 2021 will not be eligible to apply to the EU Settlement Scheme and will need to make another immigration application in order to secure the right to live and work in the UK.
Right to Work checks on EU, EEA and Swiss nationals will change from 1st July 2021.
Prior to 30 June 2021, EU, EEA and Swiss citizens can use their passport or national identity card as evidence of their right to work in the UK. This will no longer be the case from 1st July 2021, when they will be required to prove they have a right to work in the UK through their immigration status rather than providing evidence of their nationality.
Employers will therefore have to check their right to work by using the online right to work check service or by checking the individual’s physical document confirming their right to work.
Ashfords’ Immigration Team can advise on making an EU Settlement Scheme application, and can also assist employers with understanding the changes that are being implemented from 1st July 2021. For further information please contact Kirsty Cooke or Ellen Parker.