Currently, members of the EEA and their family members have their rights protected by the European Union Directive also known as the Free Movement Directive. It is normal to be confused to your position, so for those worrying about the effects of Brexit, this should answer some questions.
What is the European Economic Area (EEA)?
The European Economic Area includes EU countries and three external counties (Iceland, Norway and Liechtenstein). It is an international agreement that allows the member countries to participate in a single market. This covers the free movement of goods, services, capital and persons.
What’s the difference between the EEA and the EU?
The EU is a political and economic union of 28 countries that allows members to be part of the single market. The EEA has a similar purpose but includes Iceland, Norway and Liechtenstein.
Am I a member of the EEA?
Yes, if you are a national citizen of an EU country or Iceland, Norway and Liechtenstein.
What will happen after the Brexit Deadline?
Once the UK has left the EU, there will be no changes to the rights of EEA members until the end of the transition period on the 31st December 2020. You will be able to use your documents as proof of your right to live and work in the UK until this date.
What acceptable documents does this include?
As part of the EEA members work compliance check, you can use your passport or national ID card, as well as the documents outlined below:
A resident card is issued for non-EEA family members of EU (or Iceland, Norway and Liechtenstein) citizens. This gives cardholders the right to move freely around the member states of the EEA.
Permanent Residence Card
Some non-EEA family members have been issued a permanent residence card by the Home Office. This confirms that they have acquired the right to live in the UK under EU Law after 5 years of a lawful residence.
What happens between leaving the EU and the 31st of December 2020?
An EEA national who is a UK resident by the 31st December 2020 will be able to apply under the EU settlement scheme for a settled or pre-settled status. The application process is now available and the deadline for submission is 30th June 2021.
If you have family members who are EU or EEA nationals, in the event of a deal they can come to the UK as normal before the 31st December 2020 but will need to apply for pre-settled status before 30th June 2021. If the UK exit the EU under a no deal, they would need to become a UK resident by the EU leave date and apply for pre-settled status before 31st December 2020.
This gives you the right to remain in the UK indefinitely. Settled status simply means that you have lived continuously in the UK for 5 years.
EU citizens can apply for a pre-settled status if they have not had a continuous 5 year residence in the UK.
What happens after the 31st of December 2020?
If your EU Settlement application is denied, an applicant has the right to appeal and re-apply by the 30th June 2021.
For anyone arriving in the UK after the 31st December 2020, there will be a new immigration system in place. Details of this are still yet to be determined.
How much does an EU Settlement Scheme application cost?
The government launched a ‘test-phase’ of the EU Settlement scheme in January for those who met certain criteria. The application cost £65 for adults and £32.50 for under-16s. Now the scheme has been fully rolled out, the cost is free.
What if I am a UK citizen?
If you’re a UK citizen, you can continue living and working in the UK as normal. If you are working or living in the EU and the UK leaves the EU under an agreement, your rights will remain until the 31st December 2020. If the UK leaves EU under a no deal, there is uncertainty to what it will mean for UK citizens living in the EU.
Where can I receive more advice?
To receive updated information on Brexit or more advice visit the UK Gov or Home Office website or by calling Build Recruitment on 0203 176 4790.
For more of our thoughts on Brexit, you'll find another blog here.
The information in this blog was correct as of 04/04/2019. If you're reading this after the date specified please be aware that the advice is subject to change. Call us on 0203 176 4790 for further information.