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028 9024 5640: Housing & Debt Helpline for Northern Ireland

EEA nationals should apply to the Settlement Scheme

The settlement scheme is the UK government’s way of protecting the rights of EU nationals who live in the UK after Great Britain and Northern Ireland leave the EU. EEA nationals should apply to this scheme to ensure their rights are protected after Brexit. 

Under the scheme, EEA nationals can be given either settled or pre-settled status. A person’s rights to access social services, such as housing assistance, will depend on their status.

What is settled status?

Settled status is a form of immigration control for EU and EEA nationals. It is a type of indefinite leave to enter or remain in the UK. 

A person with settled status will have the same rights as a British citizen, and will have the same access to benefits, housing, healthcare etc. as a British citizen. A person must have lived continuously in the UK for at least 5 years to qualify for settled status. 

A person with settled status can also apply for British citizenship as long as they meet all the other eligibility requirements. Children born in the UK to a parent with settled status will automatically become British citizens.

What is pre-settled status?

Pre-settled status is a form of temporary leave to remain in the UK. It can be awarded where a person has been continuously resident in the UK for less than 5 years by the deadline.  Pre-settled status entitles a person to remain in the UK for a further five years from the date the status is awarded.

Pre-settled status will entitle a person to continue to live and work in the UK and to use certain services, such as the NHS and education. However, pre-settled status in itself will not make a person eligible to access housing and homelessness services or welfare benefits. A person with pre-settled status will still be subject to the same eligibility requirements that applied to EEA nationals before Brexit. 

If Brexit happens with a deal

If the UK leaves the EU with an agreed deal, EEA nationals who arrive in the UK up until the 31 December 2020 can apply to the scheme and must do so by 30 June 2021. 

If Brexit happens without a deal

If the UK leaves without a deal, only those EEA nationals living in the UK before exit day will be able to apply and the deadline for applying will be 31 December 2020.

Getting help with applications

Only certain people can help with immigration issues. The following organisations can help with the application process:

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