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'Brexit' - latest developments

Brexit will mean changes to the rights of EU nationals living in the UK before it leaves the EU, and for new arrivals from the EU afterwards. So far, there have been only general proposals, with few changes yet brought into practice. Revised guidance will appear on the site as regulations change - and the main points will be included here.

Proposed arrangements for European nationals resident in the UK

The biggest issue so far is the future of EU nationals already resident in the UK. This was covered in detail in the agreement reached in December 2017 and set out in a detailed technical document (pdf). It covers the status of EU citizens in the UK on 'Brexit day':

  • People who arrive by 29 March 2019 and have been continuously and lawfully living in the UK for 5 years will be able to apply to stay indefinitely by getting ‘settled status’.
  • People who arrive by 29 March 2019, but will not have been here lawfully for 5 years when the UK leaves the EU, will be able to apply to stay until they have reached the 5-year threshold. They can then also apply for settled status.
  • Family members who are living with, or join, EU citizens in the UK by 29 March 2019 will also be able to apply for settled status after 5 years in the UK.

However, there are many detailed issues still to be resolved, as the BBC makes clear.

Guidance on obtaining settled status in the UK was issued in November. The Migration Observatory reports on the difficulties that might be faced by some applicants.

Sources of guidance for European nationals resident in the UK

Here are some useful links to other sources of guidance:

  • 'settled status' is explained in this article by McGill & Co
  • the ILPA has a series of briefings about the rights of residence of EEA and Swiss nationals
  • Free Movement publishes a free set of e-book guides, aimed at different types of EU or EEA national who may want to apply for residence documents in the UK.

Should EU nationals sign up for email alerts rather than apply for residence documents?

The Home Office requested EU nationals concerned about their status merely to ask for email alerts, but McGill & Co question if this is a good idea.

Need for EU nationals to have comprehensive sickness insurance

A post on the Free Movement website explains why EU nationals already resident in the UK may need sickness insurance if they want to establish their right of residence.

Effects of Brexit on Irish nationals

A House of Commons paper describes the 'Common Travel Area' and how it might change under Brexit, affecting Irish nationals.

Effects of Brexit on new EU migration after the UK leaves the EU

This is a much more complex issue, likely to be subjext to longer debate. The FT lists 13 categories of migrant who might be disadvantaged by Brexit.

Effects of Brexit on asylum seekers and refugees

The government has said little on this issue but Free Movement has examined it in three articles, starting here.

Effects of Brexit on migration, housing need and housing entitlements

CIH has published a What you need to know summarising possible effects and scenarios and has a webinar for CIH members.

More information will be published here as it becomes available.


We welcome suggestions for updating the guidance on the Housing Rights website and for including links to relevant new sources of guidance or information.

Please email policyandpractice@cih.org with any suggestions, making clear your message refers to this website.

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