Q : I'm a software engineer currently living in Spain, but I want to move to London because opportunities in the tech sector are better there. I'm confused by what Brexit will mean for someone like me (it would just be me moving to London) and whether I should wait for the New Year before applying for London tech jobs. Would it be better to wait or should I apply now?
A : The United Kingdom left the European Union on 31 January 2020 and is currently in a transition period until 11 pm on 31 December 2020. On 1 January 2021, Free movement between the UK and the European Union will end and a new points-based immigration system will begin.
If an EU citizen moves to the UK before 31 December 2020, they can apply for either settled or pre-settled status .
To qualify for settled status, EU citizens must:
- Have started living in the UK by 31 December 2020
- Lived in the UK for a continuous five year period
With settled status, you can live and work in the UK without restriction for as long as you like.
Pre-settled status is allocated to those people that qualify for the above but do not have a five-year continuous period of residence . You can achieve pre-settled status without having started a new role, you just need to have proof of residence in the UK – so you could start early January but have moved late December.
Once five years of residence is achieved, a candidate can move from pre-settled to settled status.
The deadline for any application for settled or pre-settled status is 30 June 2021 (but you need to have moved to the UK before 31 December 2020). Irish citizens are exempt.
Post 31 December 2020
This information is based on our best understanding of the current guidance the UK Government has published and it may change.
- If an EU or non-EU citizen is not settled in the UK by 31 December, they will have to apply for entry via the newly established Points Based System (PBS).
- EU and Non-EU citizens are treated equally under the PBS.
- Companies will need to be registered as a Home Office licensed sponsor to employ a candidate via PBS
- If a candidate is hired via the PBS there is a charge to the company (approx. £1,500)
- Tech roles fulfil the skill required for the PBS.
All EU citizens thinking of applying for roles in the UK technology sector should familiarise themselves with the UK Government's official guidelines. You can read the guidelines in full here .