Home Secretary announces settled status for EU citizens and their families

The United Kingdom is due to leave the European Union from March 2019. This has raised the question of whether EU citizens will be eligible to continue to live and work in the UK. It has also raised concerns for employers in the UK, many of whom employ EU nationals.

Currently, EU citizens have unlimited access to the UK’s labour market without restriction. EU citizens residing in the UK for 5 years or more may apply for permanent residence and then apply for British citizenship one year later.

For non-EU citizens, the UK has a points-based system where skilled workers with a job offer from a licensed sponsor, for professional or managerial roles, can enter the UK for work.

There has been concern over the rights for EU citizens to continue to live and work in the UK and for UK citizens to live and work within the EU post June 2021, which marks the end of the Brexit transition period. To provide some certainty, the UK Government’s Home Secretary, Sajid Javid, has confirmed EU citizens and their families with 5 years of continuous residence in the UK may apply for ‘settled status’. This will allow the individuals and their families to continue living in the UK after June 2021. Settled status provides a right to continue to live and work in the UK and eligibility for public services, such as healthcare, schools and benefits. 

Irish citizens or individuals with ‘indefinite leave to remain’ do not need to apply for settled status. However, family members from outside the UK and Ireland will still need to apply.

Applications may also be made by EU citizens without 5 years of residence in the UK with a ‘pre-settled’ status which can lead to settled status once the 5 years of continuous residence has been achieved.

The settled status application scheme will be available from March 2019 and the deadline for applications will be 30 June 2021. Applications will be considered after this date where joining a family member already living in the UK.

Rights for citizens of Norway, Iceland, Liechtenstein and Switzerland are currently being negotiated.

For more information, please see www.gov.uk/settled-status-eu-citizens-families

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