by Paul Ford
With the departure of the UK from the EU on 31 January 2020, the start of what is likely to be a long and tortuous journey to unwind 46 years of shared rules and laws began.
One of the principle rights provided for with a country’s membership of the EU is the free movement of workers. As a consequence, millions of EU nationals now live and work in a different country from that of their birth. With the UK leaving the EU, that principle will no longer apply in this country and as a consequence EU nationals wishing to remain in the UK will have to take action to protect their status.
If you’re a EU national living in the UK today or intend to move here to live and work prior to 31 December 2020 then you will have the right to live and work in the UK, but in order to evidence this right, you’ll need to apply for settled status (if you’ve lived here for 5 years already) or pre-settled status (if you have lived here for less than 5 years). Don’t worry if there are gaps in your residence when you apply for settled status. As long as you’ve lived in the UK for six months out of every 12 across the five years, you’ll still be eligible to apply.
Thankfully applying for settled or pre-settled status is free of charge, but there are deadlines for application. The first is 31 December 2020, which will apply if we leave the EU on that date without having agreed any kind of trade/commercial deal. If, however, a trade/commercial deal is reached with the EU between now and 31 December 2020, the deadline for application will be extended to 30 June 2021. That might sound like a long time, but everyone who needs to apply would be strongly advised to get their applications in early. Although many applications are approved very swiftly, if your circumstances are non-standard or you are missing key paperwork, then start the process as soon as you can or run the risk of stress and uncertainty.
If you’re a non-EU national whose right to work in the UK is dependent on an EU national, then make sure that they make their application as soon as possible. You will need to be able to prove their settled or non-settled status in order to evidence your right to work.
So get prepared. Your documentation is key. You can use these links to find out exactly what you need.