How will Brexit impact immigration?

Brexit going through has been an unsettling time for immigrants and those looking to settle in the UK. It can sometimes feel daunting imagining the new paperwork and documentation you’ll have to provide to sort out your stay. But how exactly is Brexit affecting immigration?

EU citizens

Freedom of movement for EU citizens (aside from Irish citizens) ended on 1st January 2021. The upshot is that EU citizens are now treated to the same rules as the rest of the world for settling in the UK. If you weren’t a resident prior to 2021, you’ll need to apply for settlement via the new points-based immigration system. Put simply, you need a job offer from an approved employer, the ability to speak English and a minimum salary of £25,600. Alternatively, being educated to PhD level in a stem subject will also earn you points.

EU citizens who were settled in the UK prior to 2021 will instead need to apply to the EU Settlement Scheme if they want to continue to live in the UK. This is explained in detail, but in short you need proof that you’ve lived in the UK for five years previously.

Migrant rights

With settler status, you’ll have the similar rights to UK citizens with the main difference being no right to vote. But for those on work or study visas, there are restrictions. These migrants have “no recourse to public funds”: this includes most of the welfare system and Universal Credit. There are other restrictions too. Study visas will limit the number of hours you can work, and skilled workers visa holders will need approval to switch employer.

Reapplying for visas

Some of those on working visas will need to reapply. Previously there was a tiered visa system, but this has been replaced by a skilled worker visa. As a result, there will be plenty of migrants who need to update their visa – detailed information can be found here.

The new immigration changes following Brexit are complex and it can feel daunting knowing where to start. Whether you’re looking for settler status, or a specific visa you can seek advice. You can look for immigration lawyers in London or your destination city to arrange your immigration status and ensure that you smoothly get through the process.

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