The short answer is, Yes, EU citizens can work in the UK after Brexit, but they need to apply under an authorised UK visa scheme. In this article we discuss six ways EU citizens can live and work in the UK after Brexit. We hope it is useful. (This article was updated on the 16th July 2023)
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Changes After Brexit
Being a member of the European Union (EU) saw free movement of goods, services, people as well as capital among the member countries including the UK until it left. Following the official exit of Britain (UK) on 31st January 2020, it hasn’t been business as usual for the European Union (EU) citizens who used to enjoy the freedom of migrating and working in the United Kingdom, among other EU countries before Brexit.
Who are EU Citizens?
When we talk about the EU citizens, we are referring to the nationals of these 27 EU member countries which include: Austria, Belgium, Bulgaria, Croatia, Denmark, Estonia, Finland, France, Germany, Greece, Hungary, Ireland, Italy, Latvia, Lithuania, Republic of Cyprus, Czech Republic, Luxembourg, Malta, Netherlands, Poland, Spain, Sweden, Portugal, Slovakia, Slovenia and Romania. However the same Brexit rules also apply to citizens of EEA countries such as Norway, Liechtenstein and Switzerland.
1) Applying under the EU Settlement Scheme (EUSS)
The EU Settlement Scheme, or EUSS, was put in place before Brexit and allows EU citizens and EEA citizens, including their families, who were settled in the UK before the end of 2020 (31st December) to remain in the UK without the necessity of exiting the country or applying for alternative visa types.
As the EU Settlement Scheme has been around for quite some time now, there is also the problem of applications getting refused by the UK Home Office under various suitability grounds. If this is the case, then you may be able to challenge a refusal by making and EUSS appeal or EUSS administrative review. If this is the situation you are currently finding yourself in please do not hesitate to contact our legal team for assistance moving forward.
2) The Skilled Worker Visa (Tier 2 Work Permit)
The Skilled Worker Visa is the standard work permit for the UK, which would require an EU citizen to have a job offer in the UK before moving here. The visa can lead to indefinite leave to remain after 5 years.
The Skilled Worker Visa has several conditions that applicants must fulfill:
- Receive a job offer from a British company that is officially recognised as a sponsor by the British Home Office (Immigration Service).
- Obtain a sponsorship certificate from the employer.
- The job role should be one listed on the UK government website’s designated professions.
- Demonstrate proficiency in English through a language exam.
The Sponsorship certificate, given by the prospective employer, includes:
- Details about the company inviting you to work in the UK.
- Information about your proposed job role, including salary, location, and terms of work.
- The duration of your employment contract.
Please note that before a UK-based company can recruit an overseas worker, it must secure a Sponsorship Licence. The government ensures foreign experts are employed in specified companies, fulfilling certain roles and earning a minimum salary. These are achieved through the sponsorship system.
Without an approved sponsor licence, a company cannot sponsor non-UK employees, limiting its ability to attract international talent and potentially affecting its business operations.
3) The Temporary Worker Visa
This visa category permits EU citizens to work in the UK temporarily and familiarise themselves with the UK’s culture, society, and way of life. It caters to various roles, including:
- Creative Worker: For individuals in creative fields, such as actors, musicians, dancers, or film crew members.
- Seasonal Worker: For temporary work on farms.
- Charity Worker.
- Religious Worker.
- Government Authorized Exchange: For employees under a government-approved exchange scheme.
- International Agreement: For employees whose contracts are governed by international law.
It is important to note that the temporary worker visa does not lead to indefinite leave to remain.
4) The Global Talent Visa
The Global Talent visa if for leading individuals with globally recognised skills and experiences, specifically in digital technology, scientific research, academic science, arts, and culture.
The visa’s main goal is to attract professionals who can significantly contribute to the country’s economic growth and development. This visa offers a high degree of freedom in terms of work and movement.
It’s typically issued for a period of five years. After this period, applicants can apply for a permanent residence permit, and after another year, they can apply for citizenship.
5) The High Potential Individual Visa
The High Potential Individual Visa is aimed at attracting top talent from across the globe to the UK. Eligible fields include science, humanities, engineering, arts, and digital technology.
In order to qualify, applicants must demonstrate that they have achieved a degree from a top global university, pass the English language requirement, be verified through an approved test or an academic qualification taught in English, and show financial stability to support themselves and any dependents without relying on public funds.
The visa is valid for up to 5 years but does not guarantee a job or lead to indefinite leave to remain. Applicants must still undergo the usual job application and interview process.
6) The Innovator Founder Visa
The Innovator Founder Visa is designed to encourage entrepreneurs with innovative and scalable business ideas to establish their businesses in the UK. To qualify for this visa, applicants need to meet certain requirements:
- Business Idea: Applicants must have an original business idea that is different from anything else on the market. The idea must be innovative, viable, and scalable.
- Endorsement: The business plan must be endorsed by a recognised UK endorsing body. The endorsing body will assess the viability and scalability of the business plan, and they must agree that the applicant is a genuine entrepreneur who has the necessary skills to establish a business in the UK.
- Maintenance Funds: Applicants must be able to support themselves while in the UK. This means demonstrating they have enough personal savings to cover their living costs.
- English Language: Applicants need to prove their knowledge of English. This is typically done by passing an English language test from an approved provider or by having an academic qualification taught in English.
- Team Formation: More than one Innovator can apply for a visa on the basis of the same business idea, but each Innovator must have their endorsement from the endorsing body.
How Can Gulbenkian Andonian Solicitors Help?
If you are an EU citizen who meets the requirements of one of the above visa routes and are interested in starting an application, our dedicated immigration solicitors can help you make your prospects of living and working in the UK a reality.
We can help you with:
- Visa Application Guidance
- Document Preparation
- Endorsement Processes
- Financial Stability Demonstration
- Handling of Your Entire Application
In the event of a visa refusal, we can also offer appeal services where we will represent you to try and get a refused or negative decision by the Home Office overturned in your favour.
By using a dedicated team of immigration solicitors, we are confident the process of applying for a visa will be significantly simplified for you, improving your chances of a successful application.
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At Gulbenkian Andonian, we pride ourselves on “Excellence, Experience and Efficiency”. With over 35 years of experience on your side, our team of London based lawyers and solicitors have a wealth of experience advising individuals, families and businesses of all sizes to find clarity on UK law.
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Dr Bernard Andonian – the Co-Founder of Gulbenkian Andonian Solicitors, is an experienced Immigration Solicitor, former Judge, and recipient of a PhD in Law from the University of West London. He has over four decades of experience practising UK Immigration, Human Rights and Civil Litigation Law. He has served on the Law Society Immigration Law Panel, achieved numerous groundbreaking decisions in higher courts and is featured in the Legal 500’s Hall of Fame.