Why is it important for European nationals in the UK to obtain settled or pre-settled status?

Freedom of movement rights for European Economic Area (EEA) and Swiss nationals residing in the UK will end on 31 December 2020 (the end of the Brexit transition period). Eligible employees need to apply for pre-settled or settled status under the EU settlement scheme by 30 June 2021.

Pre-settled or settled status is evidence that the individual resided in the UK prior to the end of the Brexit transition period and has a right to live in the UK. A European national with settled status may also be eligible to apply for British citizenship.

The repercussions of not applying for pre-settled or settled status are not entirely clear. However, it is anticipated that EEA and Swiss nationals living in the UK prior to 1 January 2021 will need to evidence their EU settlement scheme status to prove their right to work in the UK in the future, as well as to access public services such as the NHS and certain state benefits (if eligible), open bank accounts and enrol in educational institutions.