Brexit... Immigration

New limitations on international mobility is a major concern for EEA citizens who live or work in the UK, and vice versa, and Brexit will change this in a big way.

We explain some of the issues surrounding the EU Settlement Scheme (EUSS) and how to go about getting Pre-Settled or Settled Status.

If you have any questions about this topic or other Brexit related topics, please get in touch.

How will Brexit impact UK immigration?

From 1 July 2021, EEA and Swiss citizens must have a visa to remain in the UK for longer than 6 months, and to work, study or be self-employed. Employers will need to obtain a sponsor licence to employ EEA and Swiss citizens unless they have a visa which allows them to work in the UK.

After Brexit, compliance with immigration legislation and right to work checks and obligations will be noticeably more onerous for employers. They could be visited by Home Office immigration officers and audited. Recruitment timeframes and costs will increase.

End-to-end, the sponsorship process takes 3 to 4 months from getting the licence to the employee starting work, and costs in the region of £10,000 in Home Office fees alone for a 5 year visa.

In contrast, EU Settlement Scheme (EUSS) visa applications can take just two days, and have no application fee.

Should I apply to the EUSS? I used to live in the UK, and my children were born in the UK, is there anything I can do?

For many EEA and Swiss citizens and their families, having EUSS Pre-Settled or Settled Status is their best option to protect their ability to live and work in the UK in the future. But they must be resident in the UK before 31 December 2020 to be eligible.

EUSS Pre-Settled Status is for those who have lived in the UK less than 5 years. Settled Status is for those who have lived in the UK for at least 5 continuous years, providing (with limited exceptions) they spent at least 6 months of each year in the UK, and have returned to the UK at least every 5 years since then.

This means people can rely on historic 5-year periods of residence, when they lived in the UK in the past, to obtain Settled Status.

Many don’t realise that children born in the UK to a parent who was settled in the UK at the time of birth are British citizens from birth. For example, if the parent was working or studying (for children born before 2 October 2000), or had been working, studying or self-employed in the UK for 5 years (for children born from 30 April 2006) when the child was born, the child could automatically be a British citizen from birth.

With Brexit and Covid-19, travel restrictions have become part of our lives. Having rights of residence in different countries is a valuable asset. Protecting and rethinking global mobility is at the forefront of our clients’ minds.

Brexit - a bright future?

Q&As on a range of Brexit-related topics



Find out more about Immigration and Brexit


Key contact