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Brexit advice for staff living and working in the EU, EEA or Switzerland

Advice on what staff need to do to secure their rights after Brexit.

UK citizens

If you are a UK citizen who has been legally living in an EU country by 31 December 2020, your rights will be protected by the Withdrawal Agreement provided you meet one of the residence conditions.

It is important that you follow the UK Government guidance for your country of residence including actions you need to take to secure your rights to continue being able to legally live and work in the EU. As a member of staff living and working in the EU, you should:

  • register as a resident
  • register for healthcare as a resident
  • check your passport is valid for travel
  • exchange your UK driving licence (if applicable)
  • stay up to date on Brexit – sign-up for email alerts and follow the British Embassy in your country of residence

The UK Government guidance also covers other things that you will need to consider such as residency for family members, tax payments, pensions and benefits (in the UK and EU) and so forth.

The rights enjoyed by UK and Irish nationals in the Common Travel Area will not be affected by Brexit. View the Common Travel Area guidance for more information.

EU, EEA and Swiss citizens

From 1 January 2021, EU, EEA and Swiss (except Irish) citizens not already resident in the UK by 31 December 2020 will now need to obtain a work visa prior to coming to the UK.

Irish citizens will be able to enter, work and study in the UK without a visa as they can now.

Temporary overseas working implications as a result of the COVID-19 pandemic

The Government has issued EU Settlement Scheme (EUSS) guidance confirming that only situations where an individual is considered to be forced to remain outside the UK due to travel restrictions, quarantine or COVID-19 related health complications are acceptable 'important reasons' for a COVID-19 related absence from the UK. Situations that are not covered are where an individual has made a conscious decision to remain abroad because they wanted to be closer to their family members, for vaccination or economic reasons or because they considered the risk to their health to be greater in the UK than in another country.

It is important that you understand the implications for settlement if your 'continuous qualifying period of residence' in the UK is broken due to absence e.g. by being outside the UK for more than six months in any 12-month period or for over 12 months even if it was for an 'important reason':

  • If you are applying for settled status under the EUSS you must show that you have lived in the UK for five continuous years, starting before 31 December 2020, and that, since the end of the five-year period, you have never been absent from the UK for more than five years.

  • If you are applying for pre-settled status you must show that you moved to the UK before 31 December 2020 and that, since your last entry to the UK before 31 December 2020, you have not been absent for more than six months (or for more than twelve months if your absence was for an 'important reason' (see page 138) e.g. pregnancy, childbirth, serious illness, study, vocational training, an overseas posting or some absences due to COVID-19). If you wish to reach settled status in the future you should ensure that you are not absent from the UK for more than six months — rather than two years.

As an EU, EEA or Swiss member of staff who has commenced employment outside of the UK due to the COVID-19 pandemic and whose normal work location is the University of Bath in the UK, you must have started living in the UK prior to 1 January 2021 or you will require a visa to work at the University and be required to pay for the cost of this and the Immigration Health Surcharge. This requirement will not apply if you have already secured pre-settled or settled status.

As an EU, EEA or Swiss member of staff who was resident in the UK before the COVID-19 pandemic, but have since been working remotely outside the UK during the pandemic, you should apply for pre-settled or settled status under the EUSS as soon as possible and by 30 June 2021. Home Office guidance on applying from outside of the UK can be found on the GOV.UK website.

In other cases, find out if you’ll need to apply for a visa to enter the UK.

For more information on visiting the UK after 1 January 2021, please follow the UK Government guidance.