BREXIT information

The current date on which the UK will leave the EU is 31 October 2019, although this may be subject to change.

The UK government published a new policy paper on 4 September setting out the immigration arrangements for Europeans and their family members arriving in the UK after a 'no deal' Brexit, if the UK leaves without a deal. This explains that:

  • Those living in the UK before Brexit would still have until 31 December 2020 to apply for Pre-Settled or Settled status; but
  • Those arriving after Brexit would have to apply, after they arrived in the UK, for a three year European Temporary Leave to Remain (visa) if they wanted to remain in the UK after 31 December 2020. Our guidance below has been updated to reflect the details laid out in the new policy paper.

We are here to help

Ever since the EU referendum result was announced, the University has been clear that European staff are greatly valued members of the Oxford community. It is committed to ensuring that all European colleagues keep the rights and freedoms they currently enjoy.

The Staff Immigration Team (SIT) are here to assist anyone within the collegiate University with queries about their own status as a European and that of their family members, or the status of European staff, and the applications they may wish to make.

The EU Settlement Scheme opened fully on 30 March 2019 and the process of applying for Pre-Settled or Settled status should be fairly straightforward in most cases.

If you wish to discuss your status or have questions about the EU Settlement Scheme, please contact either: james.baker@admin.ox.ac.uk or tim.currie@admin.ox.ac.uk in the Staff Immigration team.

Please email eu-staff-updates-subscribe@maillist.admin.ox.ac.uk if you would like to be added to a mailing list to receive updates from the University when announcements are made by the government that may affect EU/EEA staff.

Rights of European nationals in the UK

It is currently uncertain whether or not a deal will be reached before the UK leaves the EU but, even in the event of a 'no deal' Brexit, it has been officially stated that the rights of Europeans and their family members already living in the UK, and vice versa, will be respected.

In a new policy paper published on 4 September 2019 the UK government has confirmed that even in a 'no deal' scenario the EU Settlement Scheme will continue to run for those already in the UK.

Agreements between the UK and Switzerland (on 20 December 2018), and between the UK and the EEA EFTA states (Iceland, Liechtenstein, & Norway) (on 8 February 2019), available at the links below, confirm that the rights of EEA and Swiss nationals living in the UK before Brexit will be protected in the same way whether a deal is reached or not.

The European Union (EU)

The EU countries are:

Austria, Belgium, Bulgaria, Croatia, Republic of Cyprus, Czech Republic, Denmark, Estonia, Finland, France, Germany, Greece, Hungary, Ireland, Italy, Latvia, Lithuania, Luxembourg, Malta, Netherlands, Poland, Portugal, Romania, Slovakia, Slovenia, Spain, Sweden and the UK.

The European Economic Area (EEA) & Switzerland - the European Free Trade Association (EFTA)

The EEA includes EU countries and also Iceland, Liechtenstein and Norway. It allows them to be part of the EU’s single market.

Switzerland is neither an EU nor EEA member but is part of the single market which means Swiss nationals have the same rights to live and work in the UK as other EEA nationals.

Iceland, Liechtenstein, Norway and Switzerland together form the European Free Trade Association (EFTA).

Ireland

Irish nationals automatically have settled rights in the UK under ‘Common Travel Area’ (CTA) arrangements which date from before Ireland and the UK joined the EU. Irish nationals do not need to apply for settled status, but they can apply if they wish.

The UK and Irish governments in May 2019 signed a Memorandum of Understanding reaffirming their joint commitment to the CTA. The Memorandum of Understanding and guidance on rights under the CTA can be found at the following links:

www.gov.uk/government/publications/memorandum-of-understanding-between-the-uk-and-ireland-on-the-cta

www.gov.uk/government/publications/common-travel-area-guidance/common-travel-area-guidance

'Frontier workers'

European citizens who live in one state and travel back and forth to work in another state are referred to as ‘frontier workers’.

The government’s policy paper ‘On the rights of EU citizens in the UK in the event of a ‘no deal’ exit from the EU’, the similar agreements with Switzerland and the EFTA EEA states (Iceland, Liechtenstein, & Norway), and the government’s policy paper on ‘The UK’s future skills-based immigration system’ make only brief mention of ‘Frontier workers’; but they all confirm that whether a deal is reached or not, after Brexit and under the new immigration system from 2021 those who have exercised their treaty rights as ‘frontier workers’ before the UK leaves the EU will be able to continue to do so.

There is plenty of time to apply

The EU Settlement Scheme opened fully on 30 March 2019 but as there will be no change to the rights and status of EU, EEA & Swiss citizens living in the UK until 2021 there is plenty of time to apply. You and your family can apply for 'Pre Settled' or ‘Settled' status at any point up to 31 December 2020 to continue living in the UK thereafter. Applicants who have been resident in the UK for less than five years when they apply will be granted Pre-Settled status, those who can show they have been resident in the UK for five years or more should be granted Settled status.

Close family members (children, spouses and partners) of Europeans will be able to join them in the UK, or travel to the UK with them, where the relationship is formed before 31 December 2020.

If you already hold a Permanent Residence card you can apply to swap this for Settled status.

EU Settlement Scheme

The EU Settlement Scheme opened fully on 30 March 2019. There is no application fee but non-European family members may have to pay a fee when booking an appointment to submit their biometric information (have their fingerprints and photograph taken) as part of their application.

Applications are made online and the simplest way to apply is through the Android app which scans the applicant’s passport. As no data is stored in the app applicants can borrow a friend or family member’s Android phone if they do not have one. The Home Office have stated that this service should be available on Apple devices by the end of 2019.

Applicants who are unable to use the Android app because they do not have a biometric passport can either post their ID documents to the Home Office or attend one of their ‘ID Document Scanner Locations’ where they can have their passport scanned. Please note: those using the ‘ID Document Scanner Locations’ must not start their application before attending their appointment.

Guidance on applying for Pre-Settled or Settled status through the EU Settlement Scheme, including those applying to swap Permanent Residence they already hold, can be found at:

www.gov.uk/settled-status-eu-citizens-families

A video guide to the EU Settlement Scheme produced by Smith Stone Walters, a UK immigration solicitors firm, can be found at:

vimeo.com/330496248/c3443022e6

A detailed video walkthrough which steps through the application process produced by freemovement.org can be found at:

www.freemovement.org.uk/eu-settlement-scheme-video/

Processing times

The Home Office provide information on processing times for applications made through the EU Settlement Scheme at:

www.gov.uk/government/publications/eu-settlement-scheme-application-processing-times/eu-settlement-scheme-pilot-current-expected-processing-times-for-applications

If you have queries or problems

If you have any queries about applying through the EU Settlement Scheme the Staff Immigration Team are happy to help; please contact either: james.baker@admin.ox.ac.uk or tim.currie@admin.ox.ac.uk

If you encounter technical or other problems with an application you can contact the Home Office EU Settlement Resolution Centre:

www.gov.uk/contact-ukvi-inside-outside-uk/y/inside-the-uk/eu-settlement-scheme-settled-and-pre-settled-status

If you have contacted the EU Settlement Resolution Centre but are still encountering problems or delays with your application the Staff Immigration Team will so all they can to assist; please contact either: james.baker@admin.ox.ac.uk or tim.currie@admin.ox.ac.uk

'No deal' scenario

EU nationals

The UK government, on 4 September 2019, published a new policy paper (available at https://www.gov.uk/government/publications/no-deal-immigration-arrangements-for-eu-citizens-moving-to-the-uk-after-brexit) which confirms the rights of European citizens and their family members already living in the UK in the event of a ‘no deal’ Brexit.

The main points in relation to a ‘no deal’ scenario are:

  • The EU Settlement Scheme will continue to run for those resident in the UK before Brexit;
  • The EU Settlement Scheme will still run until 31 December 2020;
  • The Home Office will continue to look to grant, rather than refuse, status and the more generous EU Settlement Scheme requirements will remain with, for example, comprehensive sickness insurance still not being required;
  • Existing close family members (children, spouses and partners) of those resident in the UK before Brexit, where the relationship existed by this date, and children born after this date, will still be able to join them in the UK;
  • As a result, European citizens and their family members resident in the UK before Brexit will still be able to work, study, and access benefits and services in the UK;

EEA (Iceland, Liechtenstein & Norway) & Swiss nationals

Agreements between the UK and Switzerland (on 20 December 2018), and between the UK and the EEA EFTA states (Iceland, Liechtenstein, & Norway) (on 8 February 2019), available at the links below, confirm that the rights of EEA and Swiss citizens and their family members will be protected in the same way as those of EU citizens and their family members, whether a deal is reached or not.

EU/ EEA nationals arriving after BREXIT

Whether or not a deal is agreed before the UK leaves the EU, EU/ EEA nationals and their dependants will still be able to come to the UK to visit, work, or study.

If an agreement is reached between the UK and the EU there should be a transition period, after the UK leaves the EU, up until December 2020 during which the rights of EU and EEA nationals coming to the UK will not change.

If the UK leaves the EU without a deal, the government has outlined, in a new policy paper published on 4 September 2019, that EU/ EEA nationals and their EU/EEA dependants (spouse/partner and children under 18) arriving after Brexit will be able to enter the UK and will be permitted to work and study. Non-European family members will have to apply for, and obtain, a Family Permit before travelling to the UK with, or to join, an EU/ EEA national family member.

Those who wish to stay in the UK after 31 December 2020 will have until that date to apply for 'European Temporary Leave to Remain' (Euro TLR), a visa valid for three years from the date it is issued. There will be an online application, with no application fee, involving identity, criminality, and security checks probably in a similar manner to the EU Settlement Scheme. When the new immigration system is launched in 2021 EU/ EEA nationals and their family members who arrived in the UK after Brexit will then need to apply for the appropriate visa under the new system.

Changes from the information provided in a previous policy paper, published on 6 December 2018, include:

  • there will be no application fee;
  • Europeans arriving after Brexit will have until 31 December 2020 to apply for 'Euro TLR', instead of having to apply within three months of arrival;
  • if someone with 'Euro TLR' then obtains a visa under the new immigration system from 2021 that leads to settlement they can rely on their time under 'Euro TLR'. Previously it was stated that time under the new temporary visa route would not count towards settlement; and
  • it is more explicitly stated that Europeans or their family members who arrived after a 'no deal' Brexit and did not apply for 'Euro TLR' before 31 December 2020 would have to leave the UK.

In addition to the new policy paper, the UK government's GOV.UK website also has a page on 'Moving to the UK after Brexit' which they state will be updated if anything changes.

The UK government published a policy paper on 'The UK's future skills-based immigration system' in December 2018 which set out the likely visa requirements for EU/EEA nationals coming to visit or live in the UK after December 2020. The policy paper set out some details of changes to the UK immigration system but stated that the government would be consulting widely as they develop the system before launch in early 2021 so the full details of the new system would not be available for some time. Recently the UK government has not confirmed whether they will still continue with the proposals set out in this policy paper and may be considering more substantial changes to the structure of the UK immigration system.

Settled Status and British Nationality

The new Settled Status will enable holders to apply for naturalisation as British citizens.

Settled Status is only valid from the date it is confirmed, so (unless the applicant is married to a British citizen) an applicant for citizenship must wait for one year after obtaining Settled Status before they qualify for citizenship.

The application for permanent residence (as confirmed by the permanent residence document) under the current system, which will be available until the UK leaves the EU, can be backdated to the date that it was acquired, which may be some years before the document was issued. Therefore, if you have been in the UK for 6 years or more, this route can allow you to immediately apply for British citizenship after receiving a permanent residence document as the permanent residence status was obtained more than a year ago.

Dual nationality for German Citizens

German citizens may be aware that they are permitted to obtain the citizenship of an EU country and retain their German citizenship, but if/when the UK leaves the EU, applying for British citizenship after that date will result in the loss of German citizenship.

The ‘Brexit transition act’ which was approved by the German cabinet on 5 September includes a provision to help Germans applying for British citizenship, and UK nationals applying for German citizenship. This provision states that if a deal is reached between the UK and the EU, Germans who have applied for British citizenship, and vice versa, before the end of the transition period in December 2020 will be allowed to retain their own citizenship, even if their application is decided after the end of the transition period:

www.auswaertiges-amt.de/de/aussenpolitik/europa/brexit-uebergangsgesetz/2119360 (German)

www.auswaertiges-amt.de/en/aussenpolitik/europa/transitional-brexitact/2119778 (English)

Nevertheless, as matters stand, German citizens considering naturalisation as British citizens might well want to proceed with their applications as a matter of some urgency. The EU Settlement Scheme should provide applicants a ‘Settled Status’ document more quickly than applying for the current Permanent Residence Card (for non-EU/EEA Family members) or Document Certifying Permanent Residence (for EU/EEA nationals).

The German Federal Ministry of the Interior have stated in an FAQ that in the event of a ‘no deal’ Brexit a similar arrangement is proposed allowing Germans who have applied for British citizenship, and vice versa, before the UK leaves the EU to retain their own citizenship:

www.bmi.bund.de/SharedDocs/faqs/EN/themen/migration/brexit/faqs-brexit.html