Brexit is the popular term for the process of the UK leaving the European Union (EU), as a result of the referendum held on 23 June 2016.
If the UK leaves the EU this will have an impact of people who are citizens of the other 27 European Union (EU) countries, as well as citizens of non-EU countries like Norway, Liechtenstein and Iceland (also known as EEA countries) and Switzerland, as well as their family members who settled here under Freedom of Movement rights.
Throughout this document the term ‘EU citizens’ will be used as a shorthand throughout this briefing to refer to all EU citizens as well as citizens from other EEA countries, Norway, Liechtenstein, Iceland and Switzerland and any family members deriving rights from these citizens. Family members who may be able to derive rights from EU citizens include spouses and partner, children under 21 years old and dependent children over the age of 21.
The current residence status of EU citizens in the UK will be protected under EU law until the UK formally leaves the EU. This means EU citizens will be able to work, access services and healthcare as has been previously the case as long as the UK remains in the EU.
The UK Government is making it compulsory for EU citizens, along with their family members, who wish to remain legally in the UK to apply for a new residence status under the EU Settlement Scheme. The EU Settlement Scheme opened fully on the 30 March 2019. Up to date information about the EU settlement Scheme can be found here.
At this time of greater uncertainty, it is important that anyone working with EU citizens sleeping rough informs them of Brexit and the EU Settlement Scheme. If EU citizens want to explore their options under the EU settlement Scheme, they need to receive support from an appropriately qualified and regulated individual and organisation.
Because immigration law is complicated and poor quality advice can have significant consequences for the individual involved, it is a criminal offence for someone to give immigration advice if they are not regulated to do so. If you and your organisation are not regulated to provide immigration advice, you need to refer your client to an immigration solicitor regulated by the Law Society and the Solicitors Regulation Authority (SRA) or an immigration advisers regulated by the Office of the Immigration Services Commissioner (OISC).
If you are located in London or Bristol, please email us on EUSS@mungos.org to get more information about how you can refer people to our partner organisations and their immigration advisers and solicitors.
If you are not located in London and Bristol, you can find a list of organisations who provide EU settlement scheme support for people who are homeless or at risk of homelessness in your area here.