Brexit, the exit of the United Kingdom from the European Union, brought about significant changes to the relationship. Since then, the implications of Brexit on EU citizens have been a subject of great concern for those living in the UK or having family here.

To abide by the law, it is essential to know the changes in the rights and privileges previously enjoyed by EU nationals residing in the UK. Continue reading to explore EU rights in the UK, covering different aspects.

Free Movement Rights

One of the fundamental changes from Brexit is the end of the “free movement rights” that EU citizens previously enjoyed within the UK. Before Brexit, EU nationals were free to live, work, and study in the UK without visas or permits.

However, with the implementation of Brexit, new immigration policies and regulations have come into effect, introducing a new legal framework for EU citizens residing in the UK.

The Right to Work

Another significant aspect affected by Brexit is the right to work for EU citizens in the UK. Due to “freedom of movement,” EU nationals could seek employment and work in the UK without any restrictions or special work permits.

EU nationals now must obtain a work visa, meet specific criteria, or seek sponsorship from UK-based employers to continue working in the UK. To avoid any legal complications, EU nationals must familiarise themselves with the new work-related regulations.

Other Rights and Considerations

Apart from free movement and work rights, several other areas have been affected by Brexit. The following are some other rights and considerations that have changed:

Education: Prior to Brexit, EU citizens enjoyed the freedom to study and access educational opportunities in the UK on equal terms with British citizens. However, with the new changes, EU nationals may face different requirements and fee structures for studying in the UK.

Healthcare: Previously, EU nationals were entitled to reciprocal healthcare arrangements, allowing them to access necessary medical treatment without additional costs. With Brexit, these arrangements have changed.

Social Security and Benefits: EU citizens residing in the UK were entitled to certain social security benefits and contributions under EU law. Post-Brexit, these entitlements may be subject to changes and eligibility criteria. Those with a secure settled status can continue to enjoy these privileges due to the withdrawal agreement.

The Withdrawal Agreement

As part of the negotiations surrounding the UK’s exit from the European Union, an agreement called the Withdrawal Agreement was reached between the UK and the EU. This agreement offers protections and rights to EU citizens residing in the UK. It allows EU citizens who were already living in the UK before the end of the transition period (December 31, 2020) to continue living and working in the country.

EU citizens and their family members covered by the Withdrawal Agreement can apply to the EU Settlement Scheme to secure their status in the UK. This scheme provides settled status (indefinite leave to remain) or pre-settled status (limited leave to remain) depending on the duration of their residence in the UK.

The Final Word

It is evident that the implications of Brexit on EU citizens are significant and drastic in some cases. Hence, EU citizens must keep a keen eye on the new rules and regulations to confidently navigate the post-Brexit scenario.

Adapting to these changes will ensure the protection of rights and the smooth continuation of life in the UK. That said, the Withdrawal Agreement safeguards various rights for EU citizens, including the right to work, access to healthcare, and social security benefits. It offers clarity and reassurance regarding their status, alleviating some of the uncertainties resulting from Brexit.

Since the transition to new laws and regulations is still in process, being informed and seeking legal advice when necessary would be wise to safeguard your rights and privileges.