Brexit has overwhelmed the UK political and immigration landscape over the past months. The much anticipated Brexit took place on 31 January 2020, but not much has changed. Not much anyway that will affect the UK immigration.
There is now a transition period in place, and EU citizens will still have the free movement in the UK. UK citizens are however no longer EU citizens. Free movement for EU citizens to the UK will only end after the end of the transition period on 31 December 2020.
The good news for South Africans with EU passports, is that they will still be able to go to the UK to live and settle there until 31 December 2020. The closing date for EU citizens to apply under the EU settlement scheme will only be 30 June 2021. However, they have to have arrived in the UK to settle by 31 December 2020.
Related article: Brexit FAQ
There is fortunately no deadline for close family members of EU citizens that are settled in the UK. They can join the close family EU family member in the UK at any point in the future, as long as the relationship still exists.
The UK Home Office defines “close family members” as; spouses, civil partners, unmarried partners, and dependent children, grandchildren, parents and grandparents. Furthermore, family members can be from any nationality, they do not need to be EU citizens.
Settled vs Pre-Settled Status under the EU Settlement Scheme
If you have been a resident in the UK for five years in a row, you will be able to get Settled Status. During this time, you must have been in the UK for at least six months in any twelve month period. Some exceptions are allowed, including serious illness, study, etc.
If you apply under the EU Settlement Scheme before you have obtained five years’ continuous residence in the UK, you will receive pre-settled status. Once you reach your five years residence in the UK, you will have to apply again and will then receive settled status. This status will allow you to stay in the UK permanently.
What are the advantages of being registered under the EU Settlement Scheme?
Once you are registered under the EU Settlement scheme, you and your family will be able to reach the immigration status you need to continue to live, work and study in the UK. A person with settled or pre-settled status under the EU Settlement Scheme will eventually be able to apply for British citizenship, once they meet all the requirements.
You will also be eligible for public services such as healthcare and schools, public funds, and pensions.
Breytenbachs and the EU Settlement Scheme
Breytenbachs can assist EU citizens and their family members with applications for pre-settled and settled status under the EU Settlement Scheme. Applying for this status will enable EU citizens and their family members to continue living in the UK after Brexit.