Page:EEA Students and Family Members- Brexit update
  •  
  •  
  •  

EEA Students and Family Members- Brexit update

Last modified: 29/10/19

We know that many EU students will be concerned about their rights in the UK following Brexit and it continues to be uncertain time. Under EU law you have a right to be in the UK to study and work and are not required to have proof of this entitlement.  This right will remain whilst the UK remains a member state of the EU which will be for at least until 29 March 2019 and during any transistional period which will be agreed as part of the withdrawal deal. So far the UK government has sought to assure EU citizens currently in the UK that their rights will be protected even if there is no deal. The following information is based on what we know so far, you may also find the UKCISA briefing on this issue useful

EEA students can get advice about their personal immigration situation from an adviser at the Student Advice Centre. We are also intending to organise EU workshops around the 'new settled status scheme' as soon as details of the final scheme are confirmed. This may be after a Brexit deal is confirmed and closer to the launch of the new scheme. Discussions are under way as tohow the University/Student Union will be able to support EU students with any new visa process. A pilot schem will be introduced in november at the university of Sheffield but will only be open to EU staff members.

Currently as an EEA national studying (or working) in the UK you can still apply for a residence certificate  to show that you are exercising EU Treaty rights in the UK, information on how to do this is provided below. If you have been in the UK for at least 5 years you can also apply for Permanent Residence. further information is provided below about the current EU application process.

Briefing on the proposed  'settled status' scheme for EU nationals in UK after Brexit

Following update based on information from UKCISA

The UK gave formal notification of its intention to withdraw from the European Union (by triggering Article 50 of the Treaty on European Union), on 29 March 2017. The process is likely to take a minimum of two years, and the UK remains a member of the European Union during this time.  Therefore, there is no change to the position of EEA nationals and their family members in the UK during this time which means students and their family members can continue to exercise their residency rights in the UK.

The Home Office has continued to update their information to provide assurances and information for EEA nationals currently in the UK, and those wishing to come to the UK. 

We do not yet know exactly what the future implications for residency will be for EEA nationals and their family members who wish to come to, or remain in, the UK to study. However, the UK government and the EU are in the process of negotiating a Withdrawal Agreement, which includes an agreement on citizens' rights during a transitional/ implementation period from 29 March 2019. This is a period of time (likely to continue until 31 December 2020) during which EU nationals and their family members can come to, or remain in, the UK on broadly the same basis as they can now. The UK are also in the process of negotiation with Norway, Iceland, Lichtenstein and Switzerland to reach an agreement on the rights of non-EU EEA and Swiss nationals and their family members.

If a final agreement is reached, those already in the UK before 29 March 2019 and those who come to the UK during the transitional/ implementation period will need to apply for status in the UK under a scheme designed by the UK government. The status granted will be ‘settled’ status or ‘pre-settled’ status depending on the length of time in the UK.

The Free Movement blog has posted a briefing entitled: How to apply for “settled status” for EU citizens

The Home Office has published details of how it intends its EU settlement scheme to work, including draft Immigration Rules in Annex B. The inside front cover provides an email address to which enquiries and feedback may be sent. EU citizens and their family members must apply if they wish to remain in the UK after 31 December 2020.

The aim of the scheme, as stated in the foreword, is that "EU citizens living in the UK, along with their family members, will be able to stay and continue their lives, with the same access to work, study, benefits and public services that they enjoy now. Existing close family members living overseas will be able to join them here in future". The introduction stresses the value placed on the contribution EU citizens and their family members have made to the UK  and that "We want those who have chosen to make their home in this country to stay here permanently".

The scheme covers EU citizens and their family members who are resident in the UK by 31 December 2020: pre-settled status, or limited leave, if you have been continuously resident in the UK for under 5 years on 31 December 2020 and settled status, or indefinite leave if you have been continuously resident  in the UK for 5 years or longer.

The deadline for applications is 30 June 2021, although later applications can be accepted if there is a 'good reason' for applying late. We do not yet know how border force officers will differentiate between EU citizens and family re-entering the UK after 31 December 2020 and those arriving in the UK for the first time, so it will probably be a good idea to apply for one of these statuses before 31 December 2020, particularly if you plan to be outside the UK on this date.

The statement of intent provides details of the requirements, how the online application system will work, the forms of evidence which will be needed (in Annex A) and how status will be evidenced (digitally).

We have put together some FAQ's together with the University so please check the 'settled status' scheme  pages on University website.

Some key points for students are:

  1. Comprehensive sickness insurance is not required for the purposes of the settled status scheme (unlike current EEA registartion); ordinary residence will remain the test for eligibility for free NHS treatment
  2. There is no need to register if you arrive after 29 March 2019, but if you arrive during the transistion period you can register and will have same rights as EU citizens resident before 30 March 2019 and so it would be worth registering in case you wish to stay in UK in the future.
  3. Evidence of residence includes letters from schools, colleges and universities, invoices for tuition fees and documentation issued by student finance bodies
  4. Permitted absences are the same as under EU law now, ie if you have not yet been continuously resident in the UK for 5 years, you should ensure that your absences do not exceed six months in total in any 12-month period, though you may be absent for one period of up to 12 months for an important reason such as study, vocational training, an overseas posting, serious illness, pregancy or childbirth, and absence for compulsory military service is not limited
  5. Holders of settled status may be absent from the UK for up to 5 years without losing this status.
  6. Holders of pre settled status may be absent for up to 2 years without losing this status.
  7. People who have already acquired the right of permanent residence in the UK will need to transfer evidence of this right to the new settled status scheme, but this application will be free of charge and holders may be absent from the UK for up to 5 years (not 2 as is currently the case) 
  8. The application should be straight forward and, in most cases, granted quickly unless you have a serious criminal conviction (seek legal advice now if you are worried about this) 
  9. Section 6 of the statement of intent deals with family members: EU citizen family members can apply in their own right on the basis of continuous residence in the UK, though additional evidence may be needed if they are relying on retained rights of residence; further details will be published later for Chen carers, Ibrahim and Teixeira children and their carers and relatives, and for Zambrano carers (Surinder Singh family members of British citizens are covered by the scheme)
  10. Irish citizens are not required to apply under this scheme but may do so, and their family members are covered by the scheme 

The application fee is £65 (£32.50 for children under 16) and some people will be entitled to apply free of charge (holders of right of permanent residence documents, people with pre-settled status applying for settled status, children in care). 

The online application process is currently being piloted and staff at the university of Sheffield may be able to apply under the pilot scheme, details should be published in November. The scheme should be more widely available from early 2019, with full access by 29 March 2019.

To keep up to date with all the rapid changes in rights for EU nationals we recommend that you also you use the following sources:

Updates about the negotiations and the post Brexit position of EU nationals in the UK can be found at https://www.gov.uk/guidance/status-of-eu-nationals-in-the-uk-what-you-need-to-know

UKCISA

FreeMovement

 

Can my family members join me in the UK?

Your rights to be joined by family members including those from outside the EU will continue whilst the UK remains a member of the EU. Family members will be able to join you under the proposed settled status scheme see above)

To keep up to date with all the rapid changes in rights for EU nationals we recommend you use the following sources:

UKCISA

FreeMovement

You can bring your spouse/partner and children to the UK even if they are not themselves EEA nationals. This includes civil partners and unmarried partners.

If your family member is here in the UK they will need to apply for a residence card on an EEA(FM) or EEA(EFM) form available to download. There is a charge of £65 for this application. It can take up to 6 months for these applications to be processed in the UK.

If your non-EEA family member is outside the UK they will need to apply for a family permit before they travel to the UK.There is no fee for applying outside the UK.

If you are from Croatia your non-EEA family members cannot apply for a residence card until you have completed 12 months' continuous employment in the UK. Until that time, your family member can apply for a family member residence stamp to confirm their right of residence under European law.

Can my family members work in the UK?

If your spouse or partner is from a non accession EEA country they will be able to work without permission in the UK.

Accession national family members

If your family member is from one of the accession states they may need to apply for worker registration or authorisation.

Non EEA national family members (pre Brexit)

Last modified 29/10/18

If your family member is from outside the UK they will be allowed to work provided you are also allowed to work. However, they will need to apply for a residence card to confirm these rights to an employer (see above). If you are not married to each other then your non EEA partner will need to wait until the registration card has been processed. If you are married you should get an acknowledgement letter which confirms your right to work before the application has been processed.

What help can I get with my applications?

You can have a 1-1 with our International Student Adviser who will also be able to check any European applications for you before you send them to the Home Office or British Embassy abroad. You will need to have:

1. Proof of your living costs (3 months bank statements and sponsor letter if appropriate)

2. Certificate of student status for EEA national

3. European Health Insurance Card issued outside of UK (for proof of Comprehensive Sickness Insurance) plus letter confirming you are temporarily resident in the UK

Last modified 29/10/18

The current EEA residence certificate application process (for EEA students resident in UK before 29 March 2019)

You can download free ebook guides to making EU residence applications at https://www.freemovement.org.uk/wp-content/uploads/2017/01/EU-residence-rights-students.pdf

How to apply

There is currently a charge of £65 for these applications and it can take up to 6 months to process.  You do not need to use the specified application form provided by UK Visas and Immigration (UKVI), however, it easier in most cases to use it.

1. Download  the form EEA(QP.  We have prepared a guide to how to complete the paper form which you can download here. A new online form has been launched.

2. You need to provide 2 photos (get these done at  Max Photo

3. A certificate of student status from SSiD.

4. Proof of your comprehensive sickness insurance (a European Health Insurance Card issued in your home country).  If you do not have this you will be required to show you have additional private medical insurance which covers you for the duration of your studies in the UK.  It is not sufficient to show that you are entitled to use the National Health Service (NHS) for your proof of CSI under current UK government rules. For more information about what CSI is see here

5. Proof of your finances (see detailed guide).  There is no specified amount you must show.  However, you should be able to show that you have enough money to cover your rent and living costs.  The documents you can provide include bank statements, grant/loan letter, letter from parents, pay slips (if you are working).

What happens if I complete my studies?

If you complete your studies whilst the UK is still a member state of the EU and become a worker you will continue to have a right of residence in the UK.  You can apply for confirmation of this right using the EEA(QP) form.  You will need to provide evidence of your employment but will not have to show proof of comprehensive sickness insurance.

Can I apply for permanent residence in the UK as a student?

If you have been in the UK exercising Treaty rights as a qualified person (student, worker, job seeker, self-employed or self-sufficient person) for five years you may apply for confirmation of your rights to permanent residence.    If you want to apply for British citizenship you will  need proof of your permanent residence card to support your application.

If you are considering a permanent residence

UKCISA

FreeMovement

Free Movement also provide free ebook guides to making EU applications see here

How to apply

There is currently a charge of £65 for these applications and it can take up to 6 months to process.  You do not need to use the specified application form EEA(PR) provided by UK Visas and Immigration (UKVI), however, if you choose to apply for example by just submitting a letter it will be important that you get advice on the preparation of your evidence. An online form has also recently been introduced. download it from here

1. Download the application EEA(PR) form. We have prepared a guide to how to complete the paper form which you can download here.

2. If you have been studying (and not working) in the UK you will need to show that have been covered by comprehensive sickness insurance (CSI) for the duration of your studies.  You will be required to provide a European Health Insurance Card (EHIC) issued from your home country.

3. If you have been working during your studies you may be able to apply as a worker rather than as a student depending on the number of hours of work.  Generally speaking if you have only being doing casual work for a small number of hours you will not be considered to be a worker.  You should seek further advice if this applies to you.