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EEA & Swiss Nationals – final stretch before the end of the Grace Period

The UK officially broke with the EU on 31st January 2020, ending the application of EU law to UK territories. However, from this date until 31st December 2020, there was a transition period during which EU free movement continued to apply and EU, other EEA and Swiss nationals and their family members continued to benefit from.

If this transition has therefore been ended, it marked the beginning of the ‘Grace Period’ which will run until 30th June 2021.

During this period, any person who was lawfully resident in the UK before the end of the transition period, by virtue of EU free movement law and who does not yet have status under the EU Settlement Scheme, continues to have their right of residence protected. Thus, this grace period gave those who plan on continuing to live in the UK additional time to make applications under the EU Settlement Scheme for ‘pre-settled status’ or ‘settled status’.

However, from 01st July 2021, EEA citizens and their family members who do not have pre-settled status or settled status and have not made any application to the EU Settlement Scheme will remain unlawfully present in the UK.

Hence, their ability to work, study, rent property, obtain healthcare, receive public funds, use a bank account, or apply for British citizenship for instance could be affected.

This requirement does not apply to Irish nationals as they retain their rights of free movement.

Working in the UK from 01st July 2021

Those who have made a valid application in time but do not yet have a decision when the grace period ends will continue to be treated as if they are residing in the UK lawfully in accordance with the EEA Regulations until a decision is made or an appeal is finally determined.

Job seekers will be asked for evidence of settled or pre-settled status. It should also be noted that a residence permit is not settled or pre-settled status and must be converted into settled or pre-settled status before the end of the grace period.

Those who have indefinite leave to enter or remain in the UK, can continue to live in the UK without applying to the EU Settlement Scheme.

However, if they choose to apply (and meet all the other conditions), they will get ‘indefinite leave to remain under the EU Settlement Scheme’ - also known as settled status.

This means they should be able to spend up to 5 years in a row (4 years for Swiss citizens) outside the UK without losing their settled status (instead of 2 years with the basic indefinite leave to enter or remain).

EEA or Swiss citizens arriving in the UK from 01st January 2021 will need to meet the required points-based criteria and will have to apply for a visa (which can be sponsored by Quanteam UK).

The same rules apply for a citizen from outside of the EEA or Switzerland, with the exception of the Republic of Ireland.


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