It’s official, Brexit has actually happened! Now that the UK has officially left the European Union (EU), it is time that we take a look at what we need to do as workers in light of the UK’s new status.
You may or may not know that towards the end of 2019 we did a Brexit post that gave a bit of an overview into what Brexit is, as well as a bit of Brexit jargon busting. If you have not yet read that one pop on over there to get up to speed.
Where are we in the process?
Back in September when we published that post we were waiting to see if Brexit was even going to happen. There were talks of a second referendum, no deals, trade deals, leavers, remainers and everything in between but now things are a whole lot simpler. The withdrawal agreement was approved, and as of 31st January 2020 we have indeed left the EU. Now we are in what is known as a transition period, this transition is set to end on 31st December 2020.
The transition period is in place so a trade deal can be agreed between the UK and EU. Put simply, the UK and EU need to decide what their future relationship looks like. The transition period also provides UK citizens and businesses with the chance to acclimatise to some new rules and regulations that will come into force as a result of our withdrawal.
In the meantime, the current rules on trade, travel and business for the UK and EU will continue to apply, the new rules for these elements will not take effect until 1st January 2021.
What do workers need to do?
While it may seem quite far away, especially as we have barely started February, it is important that we, as workers are prepared in plenty of time. The government website has a handy tool (LINK https://www.gov.uk/transition-check ). You can use this tool to check what you need to do to get ready for the new rules in 2021. Simply answer a few questions and you will get a to do list specific to you to help you get ready.
Brexit - Settlement Status – Deadline 30th June 2021
One thing that may pop up in your to do list is to apply to the EU Settlement Scheme. If you are an EU, EAA (European Economic Area - includes the EU countries and also Iceland, Liechtenstein and Norway) or Swiss citizen you will need to apply to the EU Settlement Scheme to continue living and working in the UK after 30th June 2021.
Settlement Status – Why is it important?
If you apply to the EU Settlement Scheme successfully, you’ll be able to continue living and working in the UK after this date.
Getting your status awarded will prove your right to:
- Stay in the UK for more than 3 months.
- Use the NHS.
- Claim the State Pension.
- Rent a home.
After you have applied and providing you are eligible, you will be given either:
- Settled status
- Pre-settled status
You cannot request a particular status in your application, the status you get will depend on how long you’ve been living in the UK when you apply.
If you get awarded settled status, you can stay in the UK as long as you like and you will be able to apply for British citizenship if you’re eligible.
If you get pre-settled status, you can stay in the UK for a further 5 years from the date you get your pre-settled status awarded. After which you could reapply for settled status.
Settlement Status – Claiming benefits & housing
You can continue to claim benefits and get help with housing from your local council until 31 December 2020.
After that date, some benefits like Universal Credit, Pension Credit and Child Benefit might stop if you don’t have settled status. You also might not be able to get help with housing from your local council.
You can contact your nearest Citizens Advice for more information about claiming benefits and getting help with housing after 31st December 2020.
Settlement Status – Do I have to apply?
If you are an EU, EAA or Swiss citizen you will need to apply to the EU Settlement Scheme to continue living and working in the UK.
You may be able to stay in the UK without applying for the scheme if you are an Irish citizen, a frontier worker (working but not living in the UK) or if you have indefinite leave to remain.
You will still need to apply for the scheme even if
- You were born in the UK but are not a British citizen (Check if you are a British citizen here.
- You have a UK permanent residence document.
- You are a family member of an EU, EAA or Swiss citizen who does not need to apply.
- You are an EU, EAA or Swiss citizen with a British citizen family member.
Settlement Status – Further information
It seems like quite a bit to take in, but the process is relatively straight forward and the government website has a really useful step by step guide to help you through the process.
Be sure to use the government checking tool that I mentioned above to see if there is anything you need to do during this Brexit transition period and be proactive to get anything required done in plenty of time.
You can keep up to date with all the latest employment news and any changes to employment rules throughout the transition period by signing-up to our newsletter.
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