Housing Systems: Combating poverty and sustaining tenancies.
People From Abroad: Post Brexit
What's happening post Brexit?
What's going to happen?

At some point (!) - originally scheduled for 11.59 pm (UK time) on March 29 2019, the UK will (probably) leave the EU - known as "Brexit".
Some details about which, and how, EEA nationals will be able to claim UK benefits have been made public but the finer points cannot be confirmed until it is made completely clear as to how and when Brexit will be implemented .

We have done our best to interpret and simplify the information currently available - but please note this information is subject to change.


The government is currently proposing that:

  • EEA nationals entering the UK after 31st December 2020 will (with some exceptions) be treated the same as people from outside the EU ie requiring leave to enter and remain in the UK, and with rights to benefits, including Universal Credit, based on their immigration status. 

  • But there is a way to protect EEA nationals' (and some family members') rights, including rights to benefits, under the the "EU Settlement Scheme" described in the scheme's "Statement of Intent", and in Appendix EU to the Immigration Rules. This is called "settled status".
    There have been changes made to the Immigration rules in respect of this scheme - Statement of Changes to the Immigration Rules (published March 7th 2019).

  • The EU Settlement Scheme enables some EEA nationals and certain family members who are already living in the UK as at 31st December 2020 to get a new immigration status - "settled status under UK immigration law" which will enable them to claim benefits. This is because settled status is also referred to in documentation as "indefinite leave to remain"(ILR), meaning these EEA nationals are able to claim benefits under the same rules that apply to British Citizens. 

  • There will be an "implementation period" that will run up to and including 31st December 2020 during which EEA nationals currently living in the UK will be able to continue to claim Universal Credit (and other benefits) under the current rules - ie being "habitually resident in the UK" which includes having a "right to reside".

  • Those EEA nationals (and some non EEA national family members of EEA nationals) who are able to apply for "settled status" under the EU Settlement scheme will have up until 30th June 2021 to do so (with extensions in some cases - and if no deal this will be earlier - probably December 30th 2020 although this could depend on when "Brexit day" is ). Non EEA family members joining EEA nationals during the Brexit “transition” or “implementation” period between Brexit day and 31 December 2020 will need to register within three months of joining them. 

    An application for settled status can be made through the Home Office, online, at no charge - although before 30th March 2019 they had to pay up front (£65, £32.50 for a child) and claim a refund. It is simpler if they already have a "permanent residence status" .certificate or card.
    For details go to "What should an EEA national do now".

  •  Irish Citizens will be able to claim benefits in the same way as British citizens, without needing to apply for settled status.. A White Paper published in July 2018 "The Future Relationship between the UK and the EU"  states: "Irish citizens will continue to enjoy a special status in the UK, provided for by domestic legislation, distinct from the status of other EU nationals." 

  • Non EEA family members whose relationship to the EEA national is as an unmarried partner MUST have a residence card (cost £65) before applying

  • There will probably be a more restrictive version of the EEA Settlement Scheme if there is "no deal".

  • The government has published a "Community Leaders' Pack" to enable organisations to spread the word about the Settlement scheme.

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