Can EEA national employees lose their right to settled status due to absence from the UK?

Where a European Economic Area (EEA) or Swiss national has been granted pre-settled status under the EU settlement scheme, they will be able to obtain settled status once they have been continuously resident in the UK for five years.

The EU settlement scheme allows for certain absences. Continuous residence is not affected by:

  • absence of no more than six months total in any 12-month period;
  • one absence not exceeding 12 months for an important reason (for example pregnancy and childbirth, serious illness, study, vocational training or an overseas posting);
  • any absence on compulsory military service;
  • time abroad as a Crown servant or in the armed forces, or as the family member of a Crown servant or member of the armed forces.

The Government has introduced some exceptions to the rules on absences from the UK under the settled status scheme, where an individual's ability to return to the UK has been affected by coronavirus restrictions.

Once an individual holds settled status, this is lost only if they are absent from the UK for five years or more.