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Right to Work – EU Citizens

As members of the EU citizens can expect to travel and work freely across all member countries.  This will stop when the UK leaves the EU and there will no longer be an automatic right for EU citizens to work in the UK and vice versa.

EU, EEA or Swiss citizens and their families can apply to the EU Settlement Scheme in order to live permanently in the UK. If the UK leaves the EU without a deal, the deadline for applying is 31st December 2020 whereas if a deal is secured, workers have until the 31st June 2021 to apply. There will be no change to the rights and status of EU citizens living in the UK until the respective dates for a deal or no-deal outcome. If EU nationals do not apply to the EU Settlement Scheme, they will be in the UK illegally after the above dates.

The status given will depend on how long they have been living in the UK at the point that they apply. The rights granted will be different depending on the status awarded.

Settled status will be given when workers have lived in the UK for a continuous 5-year period. Five years’ continuous residence means that for 5 years in a row you’ve been in the UK for at least 6 months in any 12 month period. If settled status is granted, workers can remain in the UK for as long as they wish and will also be able to apply for British citizenship, if eligible.

If they do not have 5 years’ continuous residence when they apply, they will usually get pre-settled status. They must have started living in the UK by 31 December 2020 (or by the date the UK leaves the EU without a deal) to apply for this status.  There is the option to apply to change this to settled status once they have 5 years’ continuous residence. Pre-settled status allows you to remain in the UK for 5 years after the date that the status is awarded. If a worker reaches 5 years continuous residence and wishes to upgrade to settled status, this must be done before pre-settled status expires.

The process to apply to the EU Settlement Scheme is online and accessible via a computer, tablet or mobile phone.  The information that applicants will be asked for includes name, address and details of identity documents like a passport or national identity card, and a National Insurance number.

More information including the link to the online application can be found at

The Scottish Government has provided funding to Citizens Advice Scotland so they can support EU citizens with complex needs and details of this support can be found here;

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