With the news and expected outcomes changing daily, the Brexit vote has understandably created uncertainty amongst the NHS workforce, leaving many with a lot of burning questions.

EU staff are, of course, an incredible highly valued group – we appreciate the hard work put in within the 1.2 million workers in the NHS – it’s important staff are provided with the certainty needed to continue living and working in the UK.

The NHS Employers website is a fabulous resource for developments, support and information – any burning questions you have can be answered here. You can also sign up to the NHS European Office’s bulletin to get the latest Brexit updates and announcements in your inbox.

Some important definitions you may need to understand:

Article 50 The clause in the EU Lisbon Treaty that outlines the steps to be taken by a country seeking to leave the EU.


The informal term for the UK’s exit from the EU, following the government’s triggering of Article 50 of the Treaty on the European Union.

European Economic Area (EEA)

A free trade zone consisting of the member states of the EU, plus Iceland, Norway and Liechtenstein. In these FAQs, the term EU nationals includes nationals of both the EU and the EEA.

European Union (EU)

A political and economic union of 28 member states.

EU citizen

A national of one of the EU or EEA member countries.

EU Settlement Scheme The scheme by which EU citizens and their families can apply for settled status in the UK.
Indefinite leave to remain (ILR) An immigration status granted to a person who does not hold the right of abode in the UK, but who has been admitted to the UK without any time limit on his or her stay and who is free to take up employment or study, without restriction.

Permanent residence

The right to remain indefinitely in the UK once an EU citizen has been resident in the UK for five years or more. It will cease to exist following Brexit.

Pre-settled status A temporary status which will allow EU citizens to stay in the UK until they accumulate five years residence to apply for settled status.


The process of obtaining British citizenship following a qualifying residence period. Once an individual is naturalised, they are entitled to apply for a British passport. The immigration status of naturalised citizens will be unaffected by Brexit.

Settled status

The new right to remain in the UK for qualifying EU citizens that will effectively replace permanent residence following Brexit.

If you are living in the UK or have recently moved to the UK and need questions answering about Brexit, head to the NHS Employers website.

If you are considering a career in healthcare within the NHS, HCL Workforce Solutions may be able to help. HCL Workforce Solutions have a range of healthcare jobs available around the country, with competitive pay rates and exclusive contracts at NHS Trusts nationwide. Apply online or contact us through our website and we will be happy to answer any enquiries.