This comprehensive guide aims to provide a clear understanding of EU citizens’ rights in the UK after Brexit. With the UK’s departure from the European Union, it is crucial for both EU citizens living in the UK and UK employers to be aware of the changes to rights, immigration rules, and support services. In this post, we will discuss the EU Settlement Scheme, rights associated with settled and pre-settled status, the impact on voting rights, travel and living rules for UK citizens in the EU, and available support services.
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The topic of EU citizens’ rights in the UK after Brexit has been a matter of great concern and discussion since the UK voted to leave the European Union in 2016. Navigating the changes brought about by Brexit has been challenging for both EU citizens living in the UK and for UK employers who rely on EU workers. This blog post aims to provide a comprehensive overview of the rights of EU citizens in the UK post-Brexit and the steps they need to take to secure their status.
Understanding these rights and the processes involved is crucial for EU citizens who wish to continue living and working in the UK. Similarly, it is important for UK employers to be aware of the changes to ensure they are compliant with the new regulations and can continue to access the valuable skills and talents of EU citizens. In the following sections, we will delve into the details of the EU Settlement Scheme, the rights of EU citizens with settled or pre-settled status, and the resources available to help them navigate these changes.
2. The EU Settlement Scheme
The EU Settlement Scheme (EUSS) was introduced by the UK government to ensure that EU, EEA, and Swiss citizens living in the UK before the end of the Brexit transition period (31 December 2020) could continue to live, work, and access public services in the UK post-Brexit. The deadline for applying to the EUSS was 30 June 2021, but late applications are still being considered under certain circumstances.
Eligibility for the EUSS depends on the following criteria:
- EU, EEA, or Swiss citizenship
- Continuous residence in the UK before 31 December 2020
- Not posing a serious threat to public security
Under the EUSS, applicants can be granted either pre-settled or settled status, depending on the length of their continuous residence in the UK. Pre-settled status is granted to those who have been living in the UK for less than five years, while settled status is granted to those who have been living in the UK for five years or more.
3. Rights of EU Citizens with Settled or Pre-Settled Status
EU citizens who have been granted either settled or pre-settled status under the EU Settlement Scheme enjoy a range of rights and benefits in the UK:
Right to work in the UK:
Both settled and pre-settled status holders have the right to work in the UK without any restrictions. They can seek employment or engage in self-employment activities and do not require any additional work permits.
Access to healthcare and social benefits:
EU citizens with settled or pre-settled status are eligible for healthcare services provided by the National Health Service (NHS) and can access various social benefits such as housing assistance, child benefits, and pensions, subject to meeting the eligibility criteria.
Right to study and access to student loans:
Settled and pre-settled status holders have the right to study at UK educational institutions, and they may also be eligible for student loans and financial support, depending on their individual circumstances and the specific requirements of the funding body.
Family reunification rights:
EU citizens with settled or pre-settled status can bring their close family members (spouses, civil partners, unmarried partners, dependent children, and dependent parents) to live with them in the UK, provided that the relationship existed before 31 December 2020 and continues to exist. Family members can apply for EUSS family permits to join their EU citizen relatives in the UK, and they may also be eligible to apply for settled or pre-settled status under the EU Settlement Scheme once they are in the UK.
4. The Impact of Brexit on EU Citizens’ Voting Rights
Brexit has brought about changes to the voting rights of EU citizens residing in the UK. These changes have implications for their participation in local and national elections.
Changes to EU citizens’ voting rights in the UK:
Prior to Brexit, EU citizens living in the UK were allowed to vote in local elections, European Parliament elections, and, in some cases, regional elections. Following the UK’s withdrawal from the EU, EU citizens are no longer eligible to vote in European Parliament elections. However, they can still participate in local elections and, where applicable, regional elections.
The role of bilateral agreements between the UK and EU countries:
To maintain and strengthen the democratic rights of EU citizens in the UK, the British government has been working on establishing bilateral agreements with individual EU member states. These agreements aim to secure reciprocal voting rights for UK nationals living in EU countries and EU citizens residing in the UK. For example, the UK has signed agreements with Spain, Portugal, and Luxembourg, ensuring that citizens of these countries can continue to vote in local elections in the UK, and vice versa.
It is essential for EU citizens living in the UK to stay informed about their voting rights and any changes resulting from Brexit or new bilateral agreements. Engaging in the democratic process is a vital aspect of integration and contributes to the well-being of both the individuals and the communities in which they live.
5. Traveling and Living in the EU as a UK Citizen Post-Brexit
Brexit has brought changes to the rules governing UK citizens traveling and living in the EU. It is crucial for UK nationals to be aware of these changes, which affect visa requirements, travel limitations, and property ownership in the EU.
Overview of new rules for UK citizens traveling and living in the EU:
Following Brexit, UK citizens no longer enjoy the same freedom of movement as before when visiting or residing in EU countries. They now face new rules and restrictions, depending on the duration and purpose of their stay.
Visa requirements and travel limitations:
For short-term visits (up to 90 days in any 180-day period), UK citizens can still travel to EU countries without a visa for purposes such as tourism, visiting family and friends, or business trips. However, for stays longer than 90 days or for specific purposes like work or study, UK nationals may need to apply for a visa or residence permit from the respective EU country. Additionally, UK citizens are now subject to passport checks and might need to provide evidence of sufficient funds and return tickets when entering the EU.
Impact on UK citizens who own property in the EU:
UK citizens who own property in EU countries may face additional challenges post-Brexit. They might need to comply with local regulations, such as obtaining a long-term visa or residence permit, registering their presence with local authorities, or meeting certain tax obligations. It is crucial for UK property owners to research and understand the specific requirements in the EU country where their property is located.
Staying informed about the changing rules and regulations is essential for UK citizens who travel or live in the EU. By understanding and complying with these new requirements, they can continue to enjoy the benefits and opportunities that the EU has to offer.
6. Impact on EU Citizens Coming to the UK after Brexit
The UK’s exit from the EU has brought significant changes to the immigration rules for EU citizens arriving in the country after Brexit. EU nationals who wish to live and work in the UK now face a new set of requirements under the points-based immigration system.
Changes to the immigration rules for EU citizens arriving in the UK after Brexit:
Prior to Brexit, EU citizens enjoyed freedom of movement and could live and work in the UK without any specific visa requirements. However, after Brexit, EU citizens now need to comply with the same immigration rules as non-EU nationals when seeking to enter the UK for work or other purposes.
Introduction of the points-based immigration system for EU citizens:
The UK introduced a points-based immigration system in January 2021, which applies to both EU and non-EU citizens. Under this system, applicants must score a certain number of points based on criteria such as job offer, skill level, English language proficiency, and salary level. The system aims to attract highly skilled workers, ensuring that the UK economy benefits from the best international talent.
Skilled worker visas and other pathways for EU citizens to work and live in the UK:
EU citizens who wish to work and live in the UK can apply for various types of visas, depending on their qualifications, skills, and job offers. The Skilled Worker visa is the most common route for EU citizens, requiring a job offer from an approved UK employer and meeting specific salary and skill level thresholds. Other visa options for EU citizens include the Global Talent visa, the Start-up visa, the Innovator visa, and the Graduate visa.
In conclusion, EU citizens looking to move to the UK post-Brexit need to be aware of the new immigration rules and requirements. By understanding these changes and navigating the points-based immigration system, EU nationals can continue to pursue opportunities in the UK, contributing to the country’s diverse and dynamic workforce.
7. Support Services and Resources for EU Citizens in the UK
Navigating the new landscape for EU citizens in the UK post-Brexit can be challenging. Fortunately, several organizations and resources are dedicated to helping EU nationals understand their rights and access the support they need.
Overview of organizations and resources dedicated to helping EU citizens in the UK post-Brexit:
Numerous organizations, both government and non-government, offer support and assistance to EU citizens in the UK. These organizations provide information, advice, and guidance on various aspects of living and working in the country, including the EU Settlement Scheme, immigration rules, and accessing public services.
Some notable organizations and resources include:
The UK Home Office:
Provides official information on the EU Settlement Scheme, immigration rules, and other relevant topics for EU citizens in the UK.
Offers free, confidential, and impartial advice on a wide range of issues, including immigration, housing, and employment, to help EU citizens understand their rights and responsibilities.
A non-profit organization advocating for the rights of EU citizens in the UK, providing resources, support, and information on post-Brexit changes.
A charity dedicated to helping EU citizens secure their rights and status in the UK, offering guidance and support for those applying to the EU Settlement Scheme.
Legal advice and support services for EU citizens navigating the EUSS and other immigration processes:
Accessing legal advice and support can be crucial for EU citizens navigating the complexities of the EUSS and other immigration processes. Many organizations, including those mentioned above, offer legal advice and support services, either directly or through referrals to accredited immigration advisers.
In conclusion, EU citizens in the UK can access a variety of support services and resources to help them understand and secure their rights post-Brexit. By utilizing these resources, EU nationals can better navigate the new immigration landscape and continue to contribute to the UK’s diverse and thriving society.
8. Recent Updates and Future Outlook
Recent changes or updates to EU citizens’ rights in the UK:
While the EU Settlement Scheme and the UK’s points-based immigration system have been the most significant changes affecting EU citizens’ rights in the UK, it is essential to stay updated on any new developments. The UK government periodically reviews and updates its immigration policies and procedures, which can have an impact on EU citizens living in the country. It is crucial for EU nationals and UK employers to stay informed about any changes to ensure compliance with current rules and regulations.
Potential impact of ongoing negotiations and discussions between the UK and EU:
As the UK continues to redefine its relationship with the European Union, ongoing negotiations and discussions could result in further changes to EU citizens’ rights in the UK. These negotiations may address topics such as mutual recognition of professional qualifications, access to social security coordination, and family reunification rights, among others. The outcome of these negotiations could have significant implications for EU citizens living in the UK and UK citizens living in the EU.
The future outlook for EU citizens in the UK and UK citizens in the EU remains uncertain as negotiations between the two parties continue. It is essential for individuals affected by these changes to stay informed and engaged in the process to protect their rights and interests. By understanding the current landscape and being prepared for potential changes, EU citizens in the UK and UK citizens in the EU can better navigate the post-Brexit era and continue to contribute to their respective societies.
In this blog post, we have explored the various aspects of EU citizens’ rights in the UK after Brexit. We have discussed the EU Settlement Scheme, which grants settled or pre-settled status to eligible EU citizens, allowing them to continue living and working in the UK. We have also examined the rights associated with these statuses, such as the right to work, access healthcare, study, and reunite with family members.
Furthermore, we touched upon the impact of Brexit on EU citizens’ voting rights and the new rules for UK citizens traveling and living in the EU. We have also looked at the changes to the immigration rules for EU citizens arriving in the UK after Brexit, highlighting the introduction of the points-based immigration system.
Lastly, we provided an overview of the support services and resources available for EU citizens in the UK, as well as discussed recent updates and the future outlook for EU citizens’ rights.
It is crucial for EU citizens in the UK and UK citizens in the EU to stay informed about any changes to their rights and seek support if needed. By remaining engaged and knowledgeable about their rights, individuals can better navigate the post-Brexit landscape and ensure they have access to the opportunities and benefits available to them.
For further details on EU Citizens’ Rights in the UK after Brexit, please refer to: UK Government: Settled and Pre-Settled Status.