The UK’s decision to leave the European Union (Brexit) means that the rights of EU citizens living in the UK and UK citizens living in the EU will change. This is because Freedom of Movement will end.
Until the UK leaves the EU on a set day your rights remain unchanged. Currently that day is 29th March 2019 but this may change. The UK Government will announce when Brexit will happen.
What’s happening now – Deal or No Deal?
Depending on the type of Withdrawal Agreement (or 'Deal') that is finally agreed between the UK and the EU, citizens’ rights across immigration, work, law, family, health, benefits and housing could all be affected after the transition period ends.
When the terms of the deal are finalised, any changes to your rights including when these might happen and what options you have to look into your rights will be much clearer.
What if there is ‘No Deal’?
If there is ‘No Deal’, there will be no transition period and the UK Government will seek to end free movement as soon as possible. Details of the UK Government’s immigration policy in the event of ‘No Deal’ were published on the 28th January 2019.
According to the UK Government, if there is ‘No Deal’, there would be wider impacts on business and trade.
What this means for EU citizens who live in the UK
If you're an EU national, living in the UK, you can apply to the EU Settlement Scheme to stay after Brexit. See our advice on Staying in the UK after Brexit.
How the Citizens Advice network in Scotland can help
EU Citizens Support– open 1 April
From 1 April 2019, we will be launching a new part-time specialist telephony service for EU citizens resident in Scotland, called EU Citizens Support, funded by the Scottish Government. This service will be free and impartial to help EU citizens and their families with issues and concerns around the EU Settlement Scheme. It will be delivered across Scotland through our network of local Citizens Advice bureaux.
This service is designed for people who might be vulnerable or need more help to understand how their rights might change. You will be able to get guidance on the phone, online, and face-to-face through Citizens Advice Bureaux.
From Monday 18th March, we are testing our new service with a national Freephone helpline 0800 916 9847 which will be open on:
- Monday and Friday mornings from 0900-1300, and
- Wednesday afternoons from 1300-1700.
Where else you can find useful information
Although our new service will not start until April, you can find out about how your rights might be affected on our advice page EU exit (Brexit) – what you need to know. You can also get free, confidential and impartial advice by contacting your local CAB.
There are lots of other really good impartial sources of information from other organisations to help you understand what your choices are.
- Here is a more detailed visualisation to help you understand what Eurozones – the Brexit Landscape actually looks like.
- The EU Settlement Scheme has been set up and is being delivered by the UK Government, so for more information on how it works and how you could prepare for exit check out their information first.
- The Scottish Government has lots of clear information on Brexit, including guidance for Brexit planning for businesses in Scotland.
- There are lots of community and human rights groups representing EU citizens who have up-to-date information on their websites, like the Citizen Rights Project and Human Rights Consortium Scotland and Civil Society Brexit Project.
- Research groups such as The UK in a Changing Europe have also published impartial and clear information to help demystify the facts around EU citizens and their rights.
- The office of the European Commission has some in-depth information including FAQs and video content outlining current EU citizens' rights.
- For consumers and owners of small businesses, the Financial Conduct Authority has issued some guidance.
Keep checking back to this page for more information as we will be updating it regularly.