For employees - What Brexit means for you, your freedom of movement and immigration


As an employee what does Brexit mean for you? Are there any changes in freedom of movement? Can you apply for UK Citizenship? We try to answer all the questions concerning immigration.

What has happened?

Formal notice has now officially been given to exit the EU with the triggering of Article 50. There is now a minimum period of 2 years before the UK finalises its exit negotiations. If this period is not extended (which can only happen with unanimous agreement from all EU member states) then the UK will formally exit the EU on 30 March 2019.

What is the position when we exit?

Any future immigration requirements for EEA nationals in the UK will depend to some extent on the agreements negotiated, which are still to be decided. The government has indicated that any new immigration arrangements implemented may be a phased process.

What is the current position for EEA nationals in the UK?

EEA nationals continue to have Freedom of Movement (providing they are exercising their treaty rights) until 30 March 2019. The UK government have not yet confirmed the position of EEA nationals working in the UK post this date.

5+ years in the UK

EU law allows for a right of Permanent Residence which is widely expected to be replicated for existing EEA migrants under UK law

Less than 5 years in the UK

Currently the position is less clear for this group and further details should be released throughout the negotiations

Arriving post 29th March 2017

The position regarding those arriving after the trigger date remains unclear

Can I apply for UK Citizenship?

Individuals who have held Permanent Residence for a period of 12 months may be eligible to apply for British Citizenship, but should confirm what impact this may have on their tax position and any dual citizenship before considering an application. EEA nationals who have been exercising treaty rights in the UK for at least five years have the right to apply for permanent residence via an EU Registration Certificate.

Can I accept a permanent job offer?

Yes and employers are under a duty not to discriminate against workers based on their nationality. If new immigration rules are introduced, workers will then have to discuss these with their employer to establish if they meet the requirements and what impact that might have on their employment status.

What is the position for UK nationals in the EU?

UK nationals will be able to continue to work freely in the EU until a formal exit date. The position of those already living in the EU and those who wish to move post a formal exit is still unclear and will be decided by each country or EU wide depending on the final trade agreements.

Contact us

Lindsey Barras

Partner, PwC United Kingdom

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