What impact will Brexit have on EU nationals currently working in the UK?
The rights of EU nationals working in the UK has been a key element of the negotiations between the UK and the EU.
If the withdrawal agreement is approved by the UK Parliament, the UK will leave the EU with a transition period in place, ending on 31 December 2020. EU nationals residing in the UK before 31 December 2020 will be eligible for settled status when they have been resident for five years. This will give them the right to live and work in the UK indefinitely. Those who do not have five years' continuous residence can apply for pre-settled status, giving them the right to remain until they reach the five-year mark, at which point they can apply for settled status.
In the event of a "no-deal" Brexit, the Government's position is that the transition period would not apply, so only EU nationals who are resident by the date on which the UK leaves the EU would be eligible to apply under the scheme, for either pre-settled status or settled status.
The Government has published guidance on settled and pre-settled status for EU citizens and their families, which reflects the agreement on citizens' rights.
The settlement scheme is now open for applications. If there is a Brexit deal, it will remain open for applications until 30 June 2021. If there is no deal, EU nationals already resident at exit day will have until 31 December 2020 to apply.
Whether or not there is a deal, individuals who have already obtained evidence of permanent residence status under the previous system will need to apply again under the new system, to obtain settled status.
Citizens of the other EEA countries (Iceland, Norway and Liechtenstein) and Swiss nationals can also apply under the settlement scheme.