Brexit and your staff: EU settlement scheme – important information for European Economic Area (EEA) citizens

As we are all aware, the UK is due to leave the EU on 31 October 2019. We thought it important to highlight what action you employee should take if they do not hold UK Passports.

Here is some useful information to provide to your staff:

The EU Settlement Scheme, a free scheme that the UK Government has put in place to allow EU, EEA and Swiss nationals and their family members to secure their right of residence in the UK.

Employees that are based in the UK, will still be able to live and work here. However, they will have to apply to the EU Settlement Scheme in order to live and work in after 31 December 2020 if there is no deal on exiting the EU.  

Why do EEA citizens need to apply for the EU Settlement Scheme?

The UK is leaving the EU, which means that free movement of EU citizens will end. EEA citizens resident in the UK need to obtain a status under UK law so as to show their right to live and work in the UK after 30 June 2021, or after 31 December 2020 if there is no deal on exiting the EU. In order to do this, EEA citizens will have to apply to the EU Settlement Scheme or, if eligible, apply for British citizenship.    

Who should apply?

The Scheme is open to nationals from the EEA and Switzerland and their family members. The EEA includes the EU countries and also Iceland, Liechtenstein and Norway.

The EU countries are: Austria, Belgium, Bulgaria, Croatia, Cyprus, Czech Republic, Denmark, Estonia, Finland, France, Germany, Greece, Hungary, Italy, Latvia, Lithuania, Luxembourg, Malta, Netherlands, Poland, Portugal, Romania, Slovakia, Slovenia, Spain and Sweden.

Settled and pre-settled status

If your application under the EU Settlement Scheme is successful, you will be granted settled or pre-settled status.

If you have been in the UK for five years or more, you should be granted settled status. Settled status means that an individual can live and work in the UK indefinitely. Settled status is only lost if an individual has been absent from the UK for five years.

If you have been in the UK for fewer than five years, you should be granted pre-settled status. Pre-settled status can be converted to settled status after five years, provided that the individual has not had excessive absences from the UK during the five-year period.

How to apply

You can apply online at

If you have questions about applying for settled status or need help with completing the form, you should contact the EU Settlement Scheme Resolution Centre.

How long will the application take?

It usually takes around 5 working days for applications to be processed, but it can take longer. 

Application deadlines

The deadline for submitting an application for settled status is 30 June 2021 if a withdrawal deal is agreed, or 31 December 2020 if there is no deal. However, these dates may change.