Date Published: February 22, 2019

On 23 June 2016 a referendum was held in the United Kingdom about leaving the economic and political partnership, known as the European Union. Leave won and as things stand at the moment the UK is due to leave the EU on 29 March 2019. This unprecedented event is known as Brexit.

This article is not meant to examine the reasons of Brexit, nor its possible outcomes. We just simply wish to give a brief guidance to A1 Personnel’s clients and candidates on how workers from the EU may be affected by Brexit.


So here is what EU citizens living and working in the UK need to know:

An agreement has been reached between the UK and the EU that will protect the rights of EU citizens and their family members already living in the United Kingdom.  Citizens of the EU (and of the European Free Trade Association as well) will simply need to apply to stay in the UK, so this way they can keep on living their lives here as they do now.

EU citizens and their families who will have been living in the UK for at least 5 years by the end of 2020 will be given the right to stay and work in the UK indefinitely upon applying for a ‘settled status’.

Those who do not qualify for the ‘settled status’ meaning they have no 5 years of continuous residence can get the ‘pre-settled status’ which allows them to stay until they can get ‘settled status’.

EU citizens under both schemes will have the right to work in the UK, use the NHS, start or continue their education, access public funds (if they are eligible) and travel in and out of the UK.

An online system to apply to the EU Settlement Scheme will be launched on 30 March by the UK government. Originally, it was planned to charge applicant £65 but that fee has now been dropped and it is free. Anyone who had already paid, when the scheme was being tested, will be reimbursed.

What about EU citizens wanting to move to work in the UK after Brexit? Normally, they will be able to do so (with possible restrictions) during the “transition” period which is 2 years. What happens after this period is yet to be decided.

See more information about ‘Settled’ – and ‘pre-settled status’ for EU citizens and their families on the following link: https://www.gov.uk/settled-status-eu-citizens-families/applying-for-settled-status

Some words to employers:

Without doubt the UK’s immigration policy will become harsher after Brexit.  Consequently, businesses may become at risk of losing workers.  The best thing employers can do is to identify who in the business may be affected by Brexit. With the assessment of possible risks, plans can be made to retain, upskill, cross-skill or replace certain employees.

It is highly advised to keep updated on Brexit developments, provide all necessary information, guidance and support to affected employees and avoid discrimination in all cases. See more information about Brexit guidance for business on the following link: https://www.gov.uk/find-eu-exit-guidance-business?keywords=&employ_eu_citizens%5B%5D=yes