What is the plan for EU nationals living in the UK after Brexit?

The question of what Brexit means for EU nationals living in the UK has been broadly answered by plans proposed by the UK Government. Whilst Parliament is yet to give its approval, there are not expected to be objections and the proposals give some clarity about the future for millions of EU citizens currently living in the UK.

In summary, this transitional scheme will run from 29 March 2019 until 31 December 2020 and involves two types of status:

  1. Settled status
  2. Pre-settled status

From 1 July 2021 all EU citizens living in the UK will need to have applied for and hold one status or the other.

Settled status

This status allows those EU nationals who have lived in the UK for five years or more to obtain confirmation of their settled right in the UK. To apply for and confirm their settled status, EU nationals will need to follow three steps:

  1. Prove their identity
  2. Prove they live in the UK
  3. Disclose they have no “serious criminal convictions”

During this process, the Home Office will liaise with other Government departments to check on employment and benefit records. There will be a fee of £65 for adults or £32.50 for those under 16 years of age, however anyone who already has confirmation of their permanent UK residence will have the fee waived.

The deadline for applications is 30 June 2021.

Pre-settled status

EU citizens who have lived in the UK for less than five years will be granted pre-settled status and can apply for settled status once they complete five years. Close family members, for example spouse and dependants, will also be eligible for settled and pre-settled status.


An application may be refused if the person applying is no longer living in the UK by 31 December 2020 or on the grounds of a serious criminal conviction, security reasons or fraud.

National law firm Stone King would advise any employer in the UK with EU employees to seek support and advice to make sure they are fully prepared for Brexit.

The law and practice referred to in this article or webinar has been paraphrased or summarised. It might not be up-to-date with changes in the law and we do not guarantee the accuracy of any information provided at the time of reading. It should not be construed or relied upon as legal advice in relation to a specific set of circumstances.

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