EU Immigration - Main Points

The below summary was last updated September 2019

  • Under free movement rules, European Union (EU) citizens possess the right to enter and reside in the UK without the need to obtain leave.
  • EU citizens do not need to show proof of the right to legally reside here in order to apply for jobs or use public services such as the NHS.
  • However, free movement arrangements will come to an end in the wake of Brexit.
  • Irish citizens’ rights will be unaffected by new arrangements. They will be able to continue to come to the UK to live and work as now.
  • More than one million EU citizens have already been granted settled or pre-settled status, which enables them to remain here permanently.
  • Those eligible have until at least 31 December 2020 to apply.
  • Close, current family members of EU citizens granted permission to stay will be able to join them here in the UK.
  • For a transitional period after Brexit on 31 October 2019 until 31 December 2020, law abiding EU citizens and their family members will be able to move to the UK and live, study, work and access benefits and services as they do now.
  • However, those arriving after Brexit who wish to stay beyond 2020 will be required to apply for permission to remain.
  • Post-Brexit immigration arrangements for the longer-term are not finalised yet and are not expected to come fully into force until 2021.
  • Britons will need pre-clearance to travel to Schengen states from 2021.
  • To work in the EU after Brexit, British nationals would need to apply for a visa under local immigration rules or for an EU Blue Card.

EU Immigration Research


Over the 23 years that Migration Watch UK has been working in this field we have produced many papers.

View EU Immigration Library