last update: 11/11/2019


What is Brexit and when will it happen?

Brexit is Great Britain and Northern Ireland’s exit from the European Union, following a referendum on June 23 2016, in which the country voted to leave. The below information should keep you up-to-date as Britain and the EU head towards the new Brexit deadline of 31st January 2020.

What is the current Brexit situation?

On Friday 24th May 2019, Theresa May officially announced that she would step down as Prime Minister, drawing her three-year tenure to a close.

Boris Johnson was elected Prime Minister on 23 rd June 2019, committing to leave the European Union with or without a formal agreement in place. A Brexit deal has now been agreed in principle with the EU. Both the UK and the EU need to approve and sign the withdrawal agreement. They will then start to negotiate new arrangements. There would be a transition period to prepare for new rules.

The UK could still leave with no deal if the withdrawal agreement is not approved by 31 January 2020, or at the end of a transition period.

It has also been suggested that the only way out of the impasse could be a new public vote - either a general election or a referendum.

And there could yet be a further delay.

What will a no-deal Brexit look like?

A no-deal Brexit would mean that the UK would leave the EU immediately, and there would be no agreements in place about what the relationship would be like in future.

A no deal Brexit would mean freedom of movement to end.

Could renegotiation still happen?

Some of the alternative proposals have been put forward by the leadership candidates, however this would require changing the withdrawal agreement, which is the legally binding part of the Brexit deal that covers exit terms - including money, the transition period, citizens' rights and the border between Northern Ireland and the Republic.

However, the EU has so far said it is not prepared to re-open this part of the deal.

How will Brexit affect EU workers?

In a statement on 21st September following the Salzberg Summit, Theresa May said:

“The government has made clear we will unilaterally protect the rights of EU citizens in the UK in the event of No Deal. To the 3 million here, we say: you are our friends, our neighbours, our colleagues, we want you to stay.”

She has reaffirmed this in a speech to parliament on 21 January.

This is a positive sign that, regardless of the type of deal agreed, EU citizens will be protected and will be able to continue with their jobs unaffected.

In a recent exchange of correspondence  (18 June) between the Brexit Secretary Steve Barclay and Barnier, the European Commission’s chief negotiator, Barclay appealed for a rethink and for “sustained” efforts to reach a compromise to safeguard the future of EU citizens in the UK.

“The UK government remains fully committed to protecting the rights of EU citizens in the UK in any scenario,” stated Barclay.

In February, UK MPs also voted to guarantee the rights of EU nationals after the initial deadline 29 March, unanimously supporting an amendment by former ministerial aide Alberto Costa.

What do I need to do to remain in the UK?

The government recently launched a Settlement Scheme for EU Citizens as outlined below. More information can be found on the UK government’s web page.

How to apply for settled / pre-settled status.

  1. Identity check - you will need proof of identity, e.g. a passport.
  2. UK residence check - you will need proof that you live in the UK, this is likely to be done automatically using your employment and benefits records.
  3. Criminal records check - the government will check to make sure there are no serious criminal convictions.
  4. Application fee - Theresa May confirmed on 21st January that there will be no application fee to this scheme. Anyone who has already paid will be able to claim a reimbursement.
  5. Settled or pre-settled status granted - once you have successfully completed the checks paid the fee, you will be granted either “settled” or “pre-settled” status depending on how long you have resided in the UK. Settled status will only be provided for those who have resided in the UK for 5 years or more. Otherwise you will be given pre-settled status, which allows you to stay in the UK for a further 5 years. When you reach 5 years, you will be able to apply for full settled status and there will be no charge for this.

When does the scheme open and how do I apply?

The EU Settlement Scheme is now open. the deadline for applying will  be 30 June 2021, or 31 December 2020 if the UK leaves the EU without a deal.

You can apply using any device, for example, a laptop, Android device or iPhone.

To apply you will need:

  • an email address
  • proof of identity (your current passport or biometric residence card)
  • a debit or credit card
  • proof of continuous UK residence (To be eligible for settled status, you usually need to have lived in the UK, the Channel Islands or the Isle of Man for at least 6 months in any 12 month period for 5 years in a row. You need to provide proof of this when you apply)

Click here for the link to the government's website with further information on how to apply now.

What is the impact on EU citizens and family members arriving after Brexit?

Once free movement has ended, EU citizens and their family members arriving in the UK will be admitted under UK immigration rules and will require permission (leave to enter or remain). Unlike EU free movement, this will not be a rights-based system so those who do not hold valid immigration permission to be in the UK will be here unlawfully and may be liable to enforcement action. This is a crucial difference between UK immigration law and EU free movement law, which does not require permission from the Home Office for a person to be here lawfully.

The details of the UK’s future skills-based immigration system are set out in a white paper published on 19 December 2018. It will take some time to implement this new system, and for EU citizens already resident in the UK to obtain their status under the EU Settlement Scheme. (

I already have permanent residency - will anything change for me?

EU citizens and their family members already resident in the UK are able to stay living and working in the UK. If there is no deal, you will have until 31 December 2020 to apply to the EU Settlement Scheme to protect your status.

I already have indefinite leave to remain - will anything change for me?

If you have indefinite leave to remain you can continue to live and work in the UK without applying for settled status.

You can choose to exchange your indefinite leave to remain for settled status, which will allow you to spend 5 years outside the UK rather than 2 years (although this is still being approved by the government).

If I don’t get settled or pre-settled status will I have to leave the UK?

If you haven’t applied for settled or pre-settled status by 30 June 2021 (or by 31 December 2020 in the event of a No Deal) you will be unable to remain in the UK. unless you have indefinite leave to remain.

What about my family members?

Close family members will be covered by the settlement scheme, even if they come from outside the EU.  A "close family member" is a spouse, civil partner, unmarried partner, dependent children and grandchildren, and dependent parents and grandparents.

I have an Irish passport - do I still need to apply?

No, Irish citizens won't be required to apply, however any close family members from outside the UK and Ireland will need to apply.

need help with your application?

we're here for you.

If you are currently applying or thinking of applying for settled status, permanent residency or indefinite leave to remain, Randstad would be happy to help you complete your application. If you would like help with this please fill out the question form below and let us know which client site you are working on so that one of our representatives can arrange a meeting with you. Please be aware that the new Settlement Scheme is not fully open until March 2019 so you may not be able to apply for that scheme until then.

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