19 August 2019
Home Office Media Factsheet: EU citizens and freedom of movement
There have been reports in media and on social media regarding the rights of EU citizens resident in the UK after we leave the European Union.
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”.
However, EU & EEA citizens and their families are welcome to stay and there are no changes to the deadline to apply to the EU Settlement Scheme.
This scheme covers all EU & Swiss citizens and their families living in the UK by 31 October, and EU citizens have until at least 31 December 2020 to apply.
Here is a short explainer:
What is happening? Is freedom of movement ending on October 31?
We are leaving the EU on 31 October come what may. This will mean that freedom of movement as it currently stands will end on 31 October when the UK leaves the EU.
What does this mean? Will EU citizens still be able to come here on holiday?
EU citizens will still be able to come to the UK on holiday and for short trips, but what will change is the arrangements for people coming to the UK for longer periods of time and for work and study. Details of other changes immediately after 31 October and improvements to the previous government’s plans for a new immigration system are being developed.
When is the new immigration system going to be in place?
Details of other changes immediately after 31 October and improvements to the previous government’s plans for a new immigration system are being developed and the government will set out its plans shortly.
The Prime Minister has been clear that he wants to introduce an Australian style points-based immigration system. The Home Secretary is commissioning the independent Migration Advisory Committee (MAC) to examine this.
We will take back control of our borders while welcoming the talented and hardworking people that the British economy needs.
Doesn’t this create great uncertainty for EU citizens?
The Prime Minister has made it clear that all EU citizens resident here by 31 October will be welcome to stay and they are eligible for the EU Settlement Scheme.
More than one million people have already been granted settled or pre-settled status under the EU Settlement Scheme, meaning that their rights are enshrined in law.
This scheme covers all EU citizens and their families living in the UK by 31 October.
How do you apply to the EU Settlement Scheme?
The EU Settlement Scheme makes it easy for EU citizens and their family members who want to stay in the UK to get the UK immigration status they need.
It’s free and they only need to complete three key steps - prove their identity, show that they live in the UK, and declare any criminal convictions.
The easiest way to apply is online. EU citizens have until at least 31 December 2020 to apply.
What are you doing to help people apply?
There is a wide range of support available for EU citizens and their families via phone, email and in person. This includes a dedicated Settlement Resolution Centre, over 300 Assisted Digital locations supporting those with limited computer access or skills and a network of 57 organisations, funded by the Home Office, helping vulnerable people such as the homeless, disabled and elderly to apply.
What happens if I am a EU citizen, who already lives in the UK, but is abroad when free movement ends?
In this scenario, EU citizens and their families would still be eligible for the EU Settlement Scheme because they live in the UK.
No one eligible for status will be barred from re-entering the UK when free movement ends.
What’s your message to EU citizens who are anxious?
EU citizens are our friends, family and neighbours and we want them to stay.
The EU Settlement Scheme protects the rights of EU citizens and we encourage them to apply. One million people have been granted status under the Scheme already.
It’s important to remember we are looking for reasons to grant not reasons to refuse.
Will EU citizens and their families who are here before 31 October still be able to access benefits and services as they do now after free movement ends? How will they differentiate themselves from people arriving after 31 October if they haven’t applied to the EU Settlement Scheme?
We would encourage EU citizens and their families to make an application to the Scheme and there is lots of support available to do so.
However, for those who haven’t applied when free movement ends, they will still have the same entitlements to work, benefits and services and will be able to prove these in the same way as they do now.
We will set out arrangements for EU citizens and their families who arrive after free movement ends soon.
Will lorry drivers entering the UK on or after 1 November have to have their passports checked at Calais?
Yes – as now, all incoming passengers (including freight drivers) need to have their travel documents checked when travelling between UK and France.