On 31 December 2020, at 11:00 PM, freedom of movement between the United Kingdom (UK) and the European Union (EU) will end. From January 2021 EU citizens (who do not qualify under EU Settlement Scheme or other routes protected by the Withdrawal Agreement) will need to apply and qualify for entry or stay on the same basis as non-EU citizens. Most of the immigration routes will have the same requirements as they do now for non-EU citizens. At the heart of it will be the Points-Based Immigration System.
EU, EEA and Swiss citizens and their eligible family members can still come to the UK (without requiring the immigration permission) until the end of transition period (11pm on 31 December 2020) and apply in the UK under the UK government’s EU Settlement Scheme.
Family members of EU, EEA and Swiss citizens entering BEFORE 31 December 2020
EU, EEA or Swiss citizens and their family members who are living in the UK before 1 January 2021 will be eligible to apply the EU Settlement Scheme to continue living in the UK after 30 June 2021.
Family members of EU, EEA and Swiss citizens entering AFTER 31 December 2020
Family members of EU, EEA and Swiss citizen (who already has settled or pre-settled status in the UK) who enter after 31 December 2020 may still be able to apply under the settlement scheme after the deadline, providing they meeting the following:
- Family members of EU, EEA and Swiss citizens relationship began before 31 December 2020
- And they are still in the relationship when they apply to join the EU, EEA and Swiss citizen.
Irish citizenship (including British and Irish ‘dual citizenship’) would be able to stay in the UK without applying EU Settlement Scheme.
Irish citizens will continue to prove their right to work in the UK as they do now, this is known as The Common Travel Area (CTA). Under the CTA, British and Irish citizens can move freely and reside in either jurisdiction and enjoy associated rights and privileges, including the right to work, study and vote in certain elections, as well as to access social welfare benefits and health services.
Irish citizens’ family members who are not Irish or British citizens, and not covered by CTA arrangements. They can bring family members to the UK on a family visa in the same way as a British citizen, or they may be eligible to apply for the EU Settlement Scheme.
For family members to be eligible to apply under the EU Settlement Scheme, the person of Northern Ireland must:
- be a British, Irish or dual British and Irish citizen
- have been born in Northern Ireland
- at the time of their birth, have at least one parent who held British, Irish or dual citizenship (or was without any restriction on their period of residence)
- be living in the UK by 31 December 2020
New immigration system from 1 January 2021
From 1 January 2021, EU citizens wishing to come to and live in the UK will need to demonstrate their right to be in the UK and the entitlements they have. All EU citizens coming to the UK for more than six months will be able to prove other rights and entitlements via online services. Application fees will continue to apply under the new system as they do now and will apply to both EU and non-EU citizens.
Coming to work
Currently, EU, EEA or Swiss citizens’ right to work in the UK has not changed until 30 June 2021. They can still use their passport or National Identity Card. The employers need to check EU, EEA or Swiss citizens’ rights to work in the same way as now until 30 June 2021.
Until this date job applicants can prove their right to work in the following ways:
- EU, EEA or Swiss citizens can use their passport or national identity card
- non-EU, EEA or Swiss citizen family members can use an immigration status document listed in the right to work checks
- EU, EEA and Swiss citizens and their family members can use the online right to work checking service
From 1 January 2021, freedom of movement between the UK and EU will end and the UK will introduce an immigration system that will treat all applicants equally, regardless of where they come from. Anyone you want to recruit from outside the UK, excluding Irish citizens, will need to apply for permission first.
EU citizens applying for a skilled worker visa will need to show they have a job offer from an approved employer sponsor to be able to apply. If you’re an employer planning to sponsor skilled migrants from 2021, and are not currently an approved sponsor, sponsor licence should be considered getting approved now.
Coming to study
EU, EEA or Swiss citizens can make applications outside of the UK from 5 October 2020 coming to the UK from 1 January 2021 to study a course which meets the requirements of the route. They will only be able to make an application as a student from inside the UK from 11pm on 31 December 2020.
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