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Post-Brexit settled status – clarification for EU nationals

29 November 2017

The UK Government has now clarified some of the procedures it intends to put in place for EU nationals to apply for settled status after Brexit. The basic principles remain as set out in the July 2017 edition of Employer Essentials but there are more details on the process.



Individuals who already hold an EEA permanent residence document will be able to exchange it for a settled status document – although they will need to supply a photo, undergo a security check and confirm they are still living in the UK. This online service will be free.


Application conditions

Other individuals will be able to apply for settled status within two years of the specified day (expected to be ‘Brexit day’ – 29 March 2019) provided they were legally resident in the UK before the specified day and have established five years of legal UK residence by the time they apply. Unless the application is declined on the grounds of criminality (or because the individual was not legally resident at Brexit day), the UK Government will be obliged to grant all such applicants settled status.

Those who will not meet the five-year residence test within the two-year time limit will not be able to apply for settled status but can instead apply for ‘temporary status’. This will allow them to remain in the UK until they have established five-years residence and then apply for settled status. 


Application process

The Government says it wants to make this as streamlined as possible and that it will cost no more than it would to apply for a UK passport.

Applications will be made online and use existing data, for example employment data held by HMRC to verify data on the applicant and, although a photo must be supplied, fingerprints will not be needed.


Refusing applications

Applicants’ rights under the proposals will be enshrined in UK law and the Withdrawal agreement with the EU but this will allow applications to be declined because of criminality by the individual. It will also be possible for settled status to be revoked and for EU nationals to be deported on the grounds of criminality although this is subject to existing rights of appeal under the Nationality, Immigration and Asylum Act 2002 (eg subject to the right to respect for private and family life).


Preparing for Brexit

The clarity provided by the new proposals is welcome and it will be important to communicate them to affected employees. However, there are a number of issues yet to be resolved and employers should continue to build contingency plans to prepare for Brexit.

Try our free Brexit planning tool.


Employer Essentials index