Right now, negotiations between the UK and European Union about the former’s departure from the latter are taking place. They will go on for some time, with the outcome not yet known. For European professionals who are intending to relocate to the UK, Brexit only complicates matters, but it is still possible to make that move.
What you need to do in order to live in the UK depends on when you move. If you move now, the rules are pretty much the same as before. As long as you have an EU passport, you should be okay. If the passport is up-to-date and valid, there will not be too many problems.
For citizens of EEA countries - Norway, Iceland and Liechtenstein - as well as Switzerland, the rights to live and work in the UK are the same as those afforded to EU residents. You must, however, be working, be self-employed or at least be looking for work if you plan on moving to the UK.
To be granted the right to move here, aside from an EU passport, you need to be a ‘Qualified Person’. According to the Gov.UK website, if you’re a student, looking for a job or in a job, you qualify for residence. The Government ask for proof that you’re a qualified person. This comes in the form of:
- Your home nation’s passport or other proof of your nationality
- Two photographs of you
- Proof of employment or self-employment - a payslip or declaration from your employer
- Proof of health insurance - European Health Insurance Card (EHIC)
Regardless of your reason for moving to the UK, you must pay a fee of £65 alongside your application for residency. If you have proof and are able to pay that fee, you should be granted residence.
Finding a Home
The next step is to wait for residency to be confirmed. Once that has been given the green light, the process of finding somewhere to live begins. If you have proof of UK residency and that you can afford to buy or rent a property, you should have few problems. Bring this proof with you if going through an estate agency such as Strutt & Parker.
When applying for a property, the landlord or estate agency need to check that you are legally entitled to live there. This rule was introduced in 2015 and could see property owners who fail to make those checks receive a fine. It is important that you wait for all the paperwork to come through before searching for a property.
Once the UK finally leaves the EU, it will almost certainly become more difficult to move there. The rules around free movement are likely to end by 2019, with high-earning professionals among those best placed to be allowed in.
Expect more paperwork to be introduced and those who are low-skilled to be denied entry. If you are a European professional, the best thing to do is wait until the new laws around immigration to the UK have been finalised. It will probably take a couple of years for them to become law.