Since the United Kingdom voted to leave the European Union in June 2016, Brexit negotiations between the two bodies have continued to garner worldwide media coverage, some of which has instilled a sense of uncertainty for EU citizens living in the UK.
Following the UK General Election, the reformed government has resumed Brexit negotiations. The UK Home Office, alongside the Department for Exiting the European Union, has published a webpage to inform EU citizens, who call the UK home, of immigration changes as negotiations unfold.
The new immigration policy
The site importantly notes that EU citizens living in the UK do not need to act on the changes yet. “There will be no change to the status of EU citizens living in the UK while the UK remains in the EU,” the site says. The UK government has developed new immigration policy relating to Brexit. The new immigration policy is as follows:
- Those who have been living in the UK continuously for a period of five years can apply for ‘settled status’, providing an indefinite residence that will include access to public funds and services, like the NHS for example.
- People who have not yet reached the five-year mark of ongoing residency will be allowed to stay, and can then apply for ‘settled status’ once they reach that milestone.
- Similarly, the same rules apply to family dependents of EU citizens living in the UK. They too can apply for ‘settled status’ after they achieve their five-year ongoing residency, as long as this commences prior to the cut-off date.
There aforementioned cut-off date is to be set by the UK Government, and indicates when EU citizens will have a different process for applying to become permanent residents of the UK. Though this has not yet been set, according to the updated policy published online, “it shouldn’t be earlier than 29 March 2017 (the date Article 50 was triggered) or later than the date the UK leaves the EU.”
More information about applying for the residence application to achieve ‘settled status’ and the timeline for processing is available at https://www.gov.uk/government/collections/uk-leaving-the-eu-what-you-need-to-know/