Last call for EEA citizens: Freedom of Movement to finish in three weeks

News / / Last call for EEA citizens: Freedom of Movement to finish in three weeks

We are now in the final month of the post-Brexit transitional period, and EEA citizens only have three weeks to establish their residence in the UK in order to be able to live and work in the UK. The final deadline for new arrivals is 31 December 2020 at 23:00 hours.

We have seen an increased number of enquiries relating to students who have not been able to commence their studies in person due to Covid travel restrictions, and are attending online classes from their home countries. While UK established students will not break the continuity of their residence in the UK for Covid-related absences if they had applied for pre-settled status on the basis of their prior residence, new arrivals must still come to the UK prior to the deadline. There will be no discretion to waive this requirement.

Students who fail to arrive by the deadline will be subject to the same university fees and visa requirements as their non-European counterparts do. The same provision applies to workers or any other EEA citizen who wishes to move to the UK in 2021.

Eligible EEA citizens and their family members will have up to 30 June 2021 to submit an application to the EU settlement scheme. When approved, they will obtain settled status if they can prove they have lived in the UK for at least five years, including periods of historical residence. Pre-settled status will be granted to those who have lived in the UK less than five years immediately prior to the application submission.

Applications will be assessed on the basis of having established residence in the UK prior to the deadline and will be subject to criminality checks. Having a job, a National Insurance number or a specific amount of money will not be necessary to submit an application - as long as the person can prove they were present in the UK prior to the end of 2020.

From 1 July 2021, employers will also have to check that their staff have a legal basis for their stay in the UK via the EU Settlement Scheme online portal. A European passport or a residence card issued on the basis of the European Regulations will no longer suffice. Those companies wanting to employ foreign staff after this date will have to hold a Home Office sponsorship licence.

We continue to see cases where EEA citizens and their family members are unaware of having to make an application. It is mistakenly assumed that their old residence documentation will continue to be valid, as it holds the endorsement “Permanent Residence”. This is not correct and any European citizen who has not taken this step already should make arrangements to have their legal status confirmed by the Home Office before the deadline. There are minor exceptions such as Irish citizens; they don’t have to apply but can if they wish to.

If you require additional information or assistance to make an application under the EU settlement scheme, or to apply for a licence for your business, please contact Marta Mendiondo.

Marta Mendiondo

Marta Mendiondo Head of Immigration

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