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Life Post Brexit: How To Study and Work in the UK as EU Citizens

By IntFormalities
Updated on October 15, 2023
Estimated reading time: 6 minutes

In 2016, the people of the UK chose to leave the European Union (EU). This whole process, also known as Brexit, was finally completed in 2020. However, EU citizens who were already living in the UK – or planning to move there – were given the chance to apply for a permit to stay.

The EU Settlement Scheme enabled EU members to maintain their legal right to work and live in the UK. Until 30th June 2021, people were allowed to request a free pre-settled or settled status. The length of their permitted stay depended on how long they’d been living in the country before their application.

Unfortunately, new immigration rules came into force after June 2021. If you missed the deadline to participate in the EU Settlement Scheme, and you want to work and live in the UK, you must now apply for an appropriate visa permit. Here’s the lowdown.

How to live in the UK as US citizens after Brexit
Immigration rules for EU citizens changed after Brexit came into force in June 2021

Why Move To the UK?

For EU citizens seeking to migrate to a new country, the UK is well worth considering. Working and studying are the main reasons people from the EU move to the UK. For successful immigration, visa and permit requirements exist; the exact criteria vary depending on individual circumstances.

However, like with every other country, there are pros and cons to living in the UK. Let’s check them out.  

Pros of Living in the UK 

  • Thriving economy full of opportunities
  • A great education system
  • World-class infrastructure with a good transport system, roads, and buildings
  • Proximity to many countries in Europe
  • The possibility to explore an interesting culture and years of well-preserved history

Cons of Living in the UK

  • The need for a visa to work or study, which can be very expensive
  • A high cost of living (particularly in London)
  • High taxes
  • Cold weather

You can also read, “Jobseeker’s Allowance: What It Is and How to Apply.”

Migrating for Work 

A visa is required to become eligible to work in the UK. After Brexit, the visa system implemented came to be known as the UK points-based system. Points are awarded for factors such as earning a high salary, meeting the language requirements, sponsorship by an employer, and so on. The applicant must meet the minimum salary threshold to gain a visa successfully.

There are different types of UK work visas for EU citizens based on the person’s specific situation and skillset. These are as follows.

Skilled Worker Visa 

To be eligible for this working visa, a person must demonstrate they meet the criteria: 

  • They have a job offer from a licensed sponsor and possess the required skill level.
  • They will earn the relevant minimum salary threshold (usually £26,500 or the market rate for the job, whichever one is higher). 
  • They can speak intermediate-level English.

Health and Care Worker Visa

This visa is for people who work in an eligible health occupation with a job offer from the National Health Service (or employers and organisations which provide services to the National Health Service) and the social care sector. The person must be able to speak English to a good standard and meet the requirements for the Skilled Worker Visa (see above). 

Global Talent 

This visa allows highly skilled people to come to the UK without a job offer. The visa is aimed at global leaders and the leaders of tomorrow in science, engineering, humanities, the arts, and digital technology.

Specialist Occupations

Other types of visas are available, like Innovator and Start-up visas. Additional options for further specialist careers, such as creatives and sportspeople, also exist.

How To Apply for a Work Visa?

People need to begin their application through the visa and immigration section of the gov.uk website. The cost of applying for a skilled worker visa ranges from £625 to £1,423, depending on individual circumstances. A Health and Care Worker Visa costs a maximum of £479.

People are required to possess £1270 to support themselves when arriving in the UK.

Documentation needed

The following documentation is necessary to complete the process:

  • A valid passport or other documents to prove identity and nationality
  • A certificate of the sponsorship reference number
  • Your job title and annual salary
  • Your job’s occupation code
  • The name of your employer
  • Your sponsor’s license number

Moving to the UK To Study

Many people from the EU move to the UK for study purposes. To qualify for a Student visa, a person needs:

  • To be offered a spot on a course run by a licensed student sponsor.
  • To read, write, and speak English to a good standard.
  • To possess the finances to pay for the course and support themselves.
Study in the UK as EU Citizens
People on Student Visas are allowed to stay in the UK for the length of their course of studies

How To Apply for a Student Visa?

Application is made online. The cost of applying for a student visa outside the UK is £363. To complete the application, a person needs to show:

  • A valid passport or other travel documentation
  • A Confirmation of Acceptance for Studies (CAS) from the education provider

When applying, the applicant may also have to show proof of sufficient funds to support themselves and cover the cost of the course.

How Long Can You Stay in the UK?

Students must leave the UK after completing their studies (or change to a work visa). Those who complete a degree program from a UK education establishment can switch to a graduate visa and stay for a further 2 years (3 years with a doctoral qualification).

Gaining Permanent Citizenship

Anyone who has lived in the UK for 5 years can apply for indefinite leave to remain (ILR). 12 months after gaining the indefinite leave to remain, it’s possible to take the steps for permanent citizenship.

Visa Exemptions

The information here applies to all EU citizens except those from Ireland. Irish citizens are part of the Common Travel Area Arrangement and can work and live in the UK without a visa or other documentation. 

New Immigration Rules after Brexit

Though the decoupling from the EU has led to strict immigration requirements, the UK is still a popular choice with EU citizens. The economic might, top-quality education, and high living standards are major attractions. However, the UK’s decision to leave the EU has increased paperwork, bureaucracy, and cost. We hope this article has provided you with all the information you need to start your adventure in the UK!

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