The transition period for Brexit ended on 31 December 2020. EU/EEA colleagues who resided in the UK on or before 31 December 2020 and are wishing to stay in the UK can apply for ‘pre-settled’ or ‘settled status’ under the EU Settlement Scheme. This allows EU/EEA citizens to live, work and study in the UK for as long as they like under current immigration rules. The settlement scheme opened on 30 March 2019 and will remain so until 30 June 2021.
How this works is that EU/EEA citizens who have already been in the UK for five years and can evidence that will be granted ‘settled status’. EU citizens who have been in the UK for fewer than five years will be granted ‘pre-settled’ status until they reach the five-year residency requirement. Those EU/EEA nationals with permanent residence will be able to convert their permanent residence status into the new settled status free of charge, subject only to verification of identity, a criminality and security check and proof of ongoing residence.
Any EU/EEA citizens arriving in the UK after 1 January 2021 will need to apply for the appropriate right to work visa before entering the UK. The Home Office is currently rolling out its ‘Points Based Visa’ and it is anticipated that highly skilled workers will be able to apply for this visa from January 2021 onwards, although we are still awaiting final confirmation of this.