How councils can help protect the future rights of EU residents 

25 July 2018

New NRPF Network guidance to help councils prepare EU residents for Brexit​

The UK is due to leave the European Union (EU) on 29 March 2019. The Government has published details of the arrangements it has made to protect the rights of EU nationals currently living in the UK in a Statement of Intent, which implements the draft Withdrawal Agreement that has been made with the EU. However, the Government and EU have yet to reach a final agreement on the full terms that will apply to the UK when it leaves, so the following information is subject to change. ​

The Government is proposing that there will be a transition period which ends on 31 December 2020, so free movement and the rights currently enjoyed by EU nationals and their family members to live and work in the UK will continue during this time. EU nationals and their family members living in the UK by the end of the transition period will need to take action before 30 June 2021 and apply for either settled or pre-settled (temporary) status under the EU Settlement Scheme if they wish to stay here. EU nationals and family members who arrive after 29 March 2019, and people who have already obtained a permanent residence document will also need to apply. The Government has indicated that a person who fails to apply by the end of June 2021 may have no lawful basis to remain in the UK, but it is unclear what the consequences of this will be. The scheme is being piloted from the end of August and is due to be implemented by the end of the year. 

Local authorities are responsible for ensuring the general well-being of their communities and residents, and need to respond to any changes that may adversely impact on this. Many residents will be directly affected by the UK leaving the EU and, as a consequence, local authorities will need to play a role in reducing any negative impacts on communities that may arise if EU nationals lose their entitlement to benefits and employment.
Additionally, local authorities currently spend at least £43.5 million per year funding accommodation and financial support​ for destitute migrants with no recourse to public funds to safeguard the welfare of children within families, adults with care needs and young people leaving care. It will be essential that any arrangements for EU nationals do not lead to this safety net becoming an even greater burden on local government. 

We have produced a factsheet setting out how local authorities may raise awareness of the procedures the Government is proposing amongst EU nationals in communities​ and what proactive steps may need to be taken now to assist vulnerable residents receiving support from social services and children in care. As the final arrangements ​have not yet been agreed between the EU and the UK Government, we intend to keep this updated to reflect any significant​ developments. 

Along with sector partners, we will be highlighting outstanding questions and concerns about the process to the Government, including potential resource pressures and financial risks for local authorities. We request that local authority practitioners contact us​ to feedback any concerns they may have about how these proposals could​ affect their residents and services

Related documents
  • NRPF Network factsheetHelping European Union residents to protect their rights after Brexit 
  • UK Government EU Settlement Scheme Statement of Intent (21 June 2018)
  • Draft Withdrawal Agreement on the withdrawal of the United Kingdom of Great Britain and Northern Ireland from the European Union and the European Atomic Energy Community (19 March 2018)