Globe, Migrants, Multiculture, United Kingdom

What immigrants should know about Brexit

The coronavirus has impacted life so profoundly that what was once a priority topic of discussion has been pushed into the background. But 31 December marks the end of the 11-month transition period that the European Union and the United Kingdom took to reach an agreement on how to trade, allow human travel, work and residence after Brexit.


Brexit began on 31 January this year and since then friction has been felt on both sides. And this is mainly because the EU is concerned that the UK will help its own companies financially or give them advantages, unfair for others.

Also, because it fears that the UKwill change an agreement made on the case of Northern Ireland, which is the area of the UK that has a land border with the EU. And then there is the issue of fisheries, of which countries will be able to fish in the waters of the United Kingdom.

On the commercial side, one of the impacts of Brexit is that if no agreement is reached, the costs of imported products will increase.

There is a lack of work in the commercial area and in others, and whether or not this is achieved, there is one thing that will be different: migration between the EU and UK, whether to live or to work.

In this sense, there is concern among immigrants, especially because there is still confusion about what is going to happen to them and what they should do from now on.

Frequently asked questions about Brexit

With this in mind, the Indoamerican Refugee and Migrant Organization, IRMO, an organization that has been working with and for the Latin American community for 35 years, has compiled the main concerns of this community and has produced a document entitled “Brexit FAQ” where it answers each of them and makes some suggestions:

Applying for residency: EU Settlement Scheme

If you are European and already living in the UK, you must make an application before 30 June 2021, demonstrating that you were resident in the UK before 31 December 2020 (the end of the transition period).

However, IRMO recommends:

To apply before 31 December 2020, as well as following this date, landlords, employers and many services will begin to ask for proof of this status.

Before this date, EU nationals can enjoy the same rights and access to services without having to prove their status under the Scheme.

Important: If you are a European national: if you or your family members do not apply for status under the scheme before the deadline, you will have no legal status for remaining in the UK. You will not be able to rely on your EU nationality alone to remain in the UK on a permanent basis.

What is the deadline to enter the UK, if I have never lived there before?

To be able to benefit from the EU Settlement Scheme, the deadline to enter will now be the 31st December 2020 (the end of the transition period).

EU Citizens who enter after 1 January 2021 will be subject to a new UK immigration system.

At this point, IRMO does not have the full details of how the system will work. But IRMO will keep people posted on any updates.

Can I still leave the UK and come back?

If you are a European national you can use your EU passport to leave and re-enter the UK until 31 December 2020. This is also the case if you are a British national, you can use your passport to travel to Europe until the end of the transition period.

Can I still use my European ID card if I don’t have a passport?

You will not be able to use your national ID card to enter the UK from 1 October 2021, except if you have been granted pre-settled or settled status. In that case, you can continue to use your national ID card until 31st December 2025.

I am European and live in the UK, but I am going to travel soon, do I need to apply for the EU Settlement Scheme before I leave?

Not necessarily. If it is a short trip, simply come back before the deadline to apply and you can apply on your return using your previous residence.

Can I travel once I have been granted status under the EU Settlement Scheme?

You can leave and enter the UK. However:

If you have been granted pre-settled status, you should not leave the UK for more than 6 months per year. Otherwise, you will be able to return but you will have to accumulate 5 years of residency in the UK again to be able to apply for settled status. The time that you previously lived in the UK will not count.

In addition, if you leave the country for more than 2 years continuously, you will lose your status and you will have no right to enter and remain in the UK.

If you have been granted settled status, you should not leave the country for more than 5 years continuously. Otherwise, you will lose your status and you will have no right to enter and remain in the UK.

Can I still bring family members to the UK?


For direct family members (spouses, children, parents) everything continues as it does now.

You can use applications under EU law until 31 December 2020 or the EU Settlement Scheme from 1 January 2021.

The only requirement is that your relationship with your direct family members began before 31 December 2020.

If you want to bring extended family members (brothers/sisters, nephews/nieces, uncles/aunties, cousins or unmarried partners…), you only have until 31 December 2020, which is when EU law will come to an end.

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