How does Brexit affect non-UK citizens after October 31?

The United Kingdom (UK) will leave the European Union on October 31, 2019, with or without a deal agreed. Before the Brexit, EU citizens living in the UK must apply for settled status so they can legally stay after free movement ends at the end of October. 

For starters, the UK is made up of four countries, England, Wales, Scotland and Northern Ireland. The Republic of Ireland is not a part of the UK and will not be leaving the European Union after Brexit. 

Brexit vote by Martin Hearn on Flickr
Brexit vote by Martin Hearn on Flickr

Citizens of the European Union, EEA (EU plus Iceland, Liechtenstein and Norway) and Swiss citizens can apply for residence in the UK through the European Settlement Scheme.

How does the European Settlement Scheme Work? 

The European Settlement Scheme (ESS) is a way of the UK helping non-UK citizens remain after October 31. 

According to the, “Irish citizens, individuals with ‘indefinite leave to remain’ status, and people who are exempt from immigration control such as foreign diplomats, do not need to apply”.

It has been stated that over one million of the 3.5 million EU citizens living in the UK have applied to the scheme. Those who have applied have been granted settled or pre-settled status. This would mean can they continue to live and work as required under UK law. after Brexit.

Deadline for application and responses to applications so far

The British government has said announced that 30 June 2021 is the deadline to apply, or 31 December 2020 if the UK leaves the EU without a deal. 

If you apply for the ESS, there are two residency responses one could get. One is the pre-settled status which is granted to people who have been living in the UK for less than five years. 

The second status is the settled status for those who have been living in the UK for more than five years. 

A Home Office spokesperson told the that “some inaccurate reporting has suggested that, once freedom of movement ends after Brexit, EU citizens resident in the UK will be left in ‘legal limbo’”.

“EU citizens and their families are welcome to stay and there are no changes to the deadline to apply to the EU Settlement Scheme.”

The Guardian also reports that people no one who has applied under the ESS scheme as of July 2019 has been refused settled status. 

Euro news also reports that EU, EEA citizens and family members, including Swiss citizens, would be able to visit, work or study in the UK as they do now, but only for a transitional period.

Ayomide Akinshilo
Ayomide Akinshilo

Ayomide is a journalist and editor with a passion for sports, video games and African culture. He has degrees in Mass Communication, Journalism and Media Communication.

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