Brexit Update: What EU Nationals Should Expect in the U.K.

Last Updated on March 2, 2023

A published plan and statement issued by the U.K.’s Prime Minister Theresa May on June 26 offered up guidelines as to what EU nationals can expect leading up to and after Brexit – the U.K.’s official separation from the EU in March 2019.

Settled status

According to the plan, EU citizens who have lived in the U.K. for five years are invited to apply for “settled status.” That includes some 150,000 EU nationals who have already applied to the government for permanent status since the Brexit ruling a year ago.

If awarded, settled status will cover EU nationals’ right to reside in the U.K., undertake lawful activity, access public funds and apply for British citizenship. On the other hand, settled status does not cover the right to bring a spouse into the U.K. if, together, they do not make at least £18,600. And, settled status may lose EU citizens the right to vote in local elections. The new guidelines are also intended to weed out “serious or persistent criminals,” as well as potential threats to the U.K., according to May.

Little clarity after Brexit

The lack of certainty and clarity leading up to Brexit will make attracting talent from Europe a challenge, argue businesses throughout the U.K. Business leaders are calling for more clarity on the issue, even though they’re generally pleased to have at least a published plan to enable EU nationals to remain the U.K.

The lack of certainty and clarity leading up to Brexit will make attracting talent from Europe a challenge

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The overall lack of direction and assurances since the Brexit ruling is compounding the worry of businesses in the U.K. May’s after Brexit announcement is less straightforward than many would have hoped, even after all this time. Companies and employees are looking for reassurance to ensure existing and future employees can remain in the U.K., but they have yet to have complete confidence in the plans set forth by the government.

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