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Living in the UK as an EU national post-Brexit (8 April 2021)

Date: 08/04/2021
Duncan Lewis, Business Immigration Solicitors, Living in the UK as an EU national post-Brexit

On 1 January 2021 the UK closed its doors on Freedom of Movement for EU nationals and their family members. As an EU national, if you resided in the UK by 31/12/2020 11pm (the specified date) you can continue and live in the UK and bring your family members to the UK to live with you.

So what has changed?

After the specified date, as the right of admission is no longer available, family members who are joining the EU national must obtain a Family Permit prior to entering the UK. Family members can no longer request a Family Permit at the border. If they have a Family Permit that was obtained before the specified date it can be used as long as it is valid.

If your EU national children and/or partner did not enter the UK prior to the specified date, they are considered a ‘joining family member’ and must obtain a Family Permit prior to entering the UK.

Remaining in the UK after 30 June 2021

EU nationals and their family members, who wish to remain in the UK after 30 June 2021 have to submit an application under EU Settlement Scheme. Once approved they will receive leave to remain for five years. The application must be submitted before 30 June 2021, aside from some exceptional cases. The Home Office has announced that it will not allow late applications and those who do not obtain the necessary status will risk becoming an over-stayer in the UK with no entitlement to live or work in the UK.

Permanent Residence – Settled Status

An applicant with Pre-Settled Status must be resident of the UK for a five-year period to be eligible for Settled Status, this is called ‘continuous qualifying period’.

What is continuous qualifying period?

An applicant must not have been absent from the UK for more than six months in any 12-month period, otherwise continuous residence is broken. One single absence of up to 12 months is permitted, but only for a compassionate reason such as pregnancy, childbirth, serious illness, study, vocational training, an overseas posting or, in some cases, due to the global pandemic.

In most cases it is possible to be absent from the UK for up to two years while holding Pre-Settled Status without the status being cancelled.

Only absences of over two years will result in cancellation of Pre-Settled Status automatically. However, if you hold Pre-Settled Status and want to be granted Settled Status in the future you cannot be absent for a period of up to two years as your continuous residence in the UK will be broken by the long absences. If you are not eligible for Settled Status because your continuous residence is broken, you will be expected to leave the UK before your Pre-Settled Status expires unless you can apply for a different type of UK visa. You cannot ask to extend your Pre-Settled Status.

When should you apply for Settled Status?

Before the five-year period expires or once you completed five years continuous qualifying period you must or can respectively, submit a settlement application or leave the UK.

You must continue to be a qualified person

EEA nationals have to be qualified persons; as a worker, self-employed person, self-sufficient person, student or family member. Not being a qualified person will also impact your ability to apply for naturalisation.

The Home Office has confirmed that it was never the UK Government’s intention to do anything to protect those who are unlawfully residing in the UK because they are not meeting the free movement conditions.

Author Efrat Shemesh is a solicitor in the business immigration department at Duncan Lewis Solicitors. She has extensive expertise in UK nationality law and has been involved in a range of varying, complex and high-profile immigration cases.

Contact Efrat on 02031141258 or at efrats@duncanlewis.com

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