Immigration to the UK has changed for EU citizens since the start of 2021. With the UK leaving the EU, there have been changes to the system which will take some getting used to. In the past – when the UK was a part of the EU – EU citizens had an automatic right to work in the UK. Below we explore how Brexit has changed this.
Process is now point based
Anyone who wants to live and work in the UK now has to navigate through a points-based system. First and foremost, you have to get 70 points. This can be accrued in various ways. Having a job offer automatically gets you 50 points which is an important start. From there, you can get additional points based on your salary and education. Here, you can view the system in full.
Does it affect the EU citizens already working in the UK?
There are changes for those EU citizens already working in the UK too. If you’d like to stay, you’ll need to apply to the EU settlement scheme. This can result in settled or pre-settled status. Settled status is for those who’ve been living in the UK for five years or more. After 12 months with settled status you can apply for naturalisation to become a British citizen – if your family live with you, they can apply for settlement at the same time.
Pre-settled status is for those who’ve been working in the UK for less than five years. This will last for up to five years and after that you can make a choice on whether you’d like to apply for settled status.
Alternatively, if you don’t intend on settling permanently in the UK, there are specific visa options for study or starting a business.
How can immigration solicitors help EU citizens?
If you’re concerned with the complexities of this process, then it could be worth speaking to immigration solicitors to help you achieve your desired result. Regardless of what option you’re looking for, solicitors can help you draft your application and walk you through, what can be, a daunting process. It usually takes the home office one to two months to process applications and getting the appropriate support during this period can make all the difference.
Adjusting to the UK’s new immigration system can be overwhelming, especially if you’re an EU citizen used to free movement. But it doesn’t have to be a daunting experience. By researching what form of settlement you’d like in the UK, you can focus on how to approach the process. And if it does seem too complex, there are always solicitors to help.