Freedom of movement into Britain for EU citizens who are non-UK nationals may be subject to change following Brexit when the UK finally leaves the EU. For the time being, however, these rules should stay the same, meaning that citizens of all EU member states still have the right to enter and live in the UK, as well as to enjoy the right to work in most cases. These principles will also apply to nationals of member states of the European Free Trade Association (EFTA), namely Switzerland, Lichtenstein, Norway and Iceland. They will simply need to produce a valid passport when requested upon entering the country. There are usually no restrictions on bringing family members under the current law and EU citizens will qualify for permanent residence status if they remain in the UK for five years or more, without the need to apply for a UK residence card.
EU citizens and the right to work in the UK
Under the present legislation, EU citizens in the UK can lawfully seek employment and take up work without having to produce additional documentation; or become self-employed and set up their own businesses. They are entitled to the same treatment as UK nationals regarding working conditions and benefits, and also have the right to remain in the UK after their employment has come to an end.
As an EU citizen living and working in the UK, you will need to apply for a UK National Insurance card, in order to receive social security benefits and deal with taxation. Please contact the team of immigration specialists at Stirling Ackroyd Legal for more information.
EU citizens and the right to study in the UK
Nationals of all EU and EFTA member states are entitled to study or seek a place of study in the UK, without the need to apply for a student visa. You are also entitled to work at the same time to help fund your studies in the same way as British students. After the period of study has ended, you will have the right to live and work in the UK.
The potential shift in immigration law and policy following Brexit is understandably causing uncertainty to many people and their families who could potentially be affected by any changes. At Stirling Ackroyd Legal, we will of course continue to keep our clients updated as the situation develops. For the time being however, things will stay the same.
The UK Residence Card
There is no legal requirement for citizens of the EU/EFTA to apply for a UK Residence Card. However, this may be helpful if you need to show that you are ‘habitually resident’ in the UK (meaning that the UK is where you are living). You can apply for a UK Residence Card at any time after entering the UK, under one of the following categories:
- You are a ‘qualified person’ (i.e. an EU/EFTA citizen who is working, self-employed, looking for work, studying or living independently in the UK)
- You are a family member of an EU/EFTA citizen (i.e. their partner, dependant or extended family member) You will need to prove the status of the ‘qualifying person’ as well as evidence of your relationship with them
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