On 23 June 2016 majority of those who took part in the Brexit referendum voted in favour of leaving the UE. Nine months later the government has initiated the official EU withdraw process, which started two-year period of Brexit negotiations. That meant that UK was due to leave EU before 29 March 2019 which was later extended to run until 31 October 2019.
As it is still not decided if UK and EU agree on the deal, many EU, EEA and Swiss citizens face uncertain future. They are not alone as many employers started to do contingency plans in case of “hard or soft” Brexit. This includes how many of their employees may be affected by it. Some of them received letters informing them to seek advice from Human Resources department, others were urged to apply for settled status as a matter of urgency. The question is what should one really do?
According to gov.uk if you are EU, EEA and Swiss citizen and you want to continue to live in the UK after 30 June 2021, you need to apply for settled or pre-settled status. Some may be able to stay in the UK without applying. This is if for example you are an Irish citizen or have indefinite leave to remain. It is important to know that if one needs to apply for settled or pre-settled status there is still time. If the UK leaves EU with deal the deadline for applying is 30 June 2021. However, in case of no deal the deadline for applying will be 31 December 2020.
If you are not sure about your situation there are number of ways to get a free advice and support.
Thanks to collaboration with Joint Council for the Welfare of Immigrants (JCWI), Unison provides free immigration telephone advice to members who have come to work in the UK from another country. If you have been a UNISON member for more than four weeks and you need immigration advice or information, please contact UNISON at 0800 0 857 857. You will be asked for your contact details which then will be passed on to an adviser from the JCWI. An JCWI adviser will call you on a Tuesday, between 10:00am and 4:00pm.
If you require an assistance to complete your Settlement Scheme application form you may use Assisted Digital service. Here is more details about it: https://www.gov.uk/government/publications/eu-settlement-scheme-assisted-digital-service/eu-settlement-scheme-assisted-digital-service
There are also 57 organisations across UK which are being funded to provide help and information to vulnerable and at risk EU, EEA and Swiss citizens applying to the EU Settlement Scheme. Please visit the link for more details and postcode search engine: https://www.gov.uk/government/publications/eu-settlement-scheme-community-support-for-vulnerable-citizens