How the EU settlement scheme affects women and girls

Despite commitments by the UK government that all EU citizens living in the UK until Dec 2020 can stay in the UK after Brexit, female EU migrants are at greater risk of failing to access their settled status than male EU migrants.

This is the finding of analysis by the Transition Advice Fund, which looked at the existing Migration Observatory research, Unsettled Status: Which EU citizens are at risk of failing to secure their rights after Brexit?.

The discrepancy between the genders is largely due to specific difficulties females are more likely to face accessing documentation to prove their right to remain, including;

  • An estimated 53,000 female EU migrants are victims of domestic abuse. Abuse is often characterised by control of both money and documentation, both things women will need to prove their right to stay.
  • Women make up 79% of the EU migrants deemed ‘economically inactive’ and may struggle to provide records from HMRC or DWP. Of these, 139,000 women are ‘economically inactive’ due to caring responsibilities. Perversely, those who have not claimed carers allowance or child benefit will have particular difficulty proving their right to remain.
  • Female EU migrants are more likely to be employed in sectors where work is informal and poor practices may mean there is little paper trail.
  • Women also make up 61% of long-term (resident for 30+ years) EU migrants, those least likely to realise they need to register. Nearly three in four EU migrants over 75 in the UK are women. Many will have obtained Indefinite Leave to Remain decades ago but may find that their original documents (e.g. old ILR cards, police booklets or stamps in old passports) are not considered valid by the Home Office.

Download the full analysis which includes detailed recommendations to reduce the risk below.




Download the research

How the EU settlement scheme affects women and girls

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By: Angela Kail, Guest contributor


The report’s authors are:

Ruth Gripper, Senior Consultant

Angela Kail, Head of Funders

Costanza De Toma, Guest Author

Costanza  is an independent consultant and facilitator with twenty years’ experience of advocacy and campaigning within the international development context. Costanza has brought that experience to bear as an activist with the EU citizens group the3million, and has made frequent media appearances talking about her experience as an EU citizen. Costanza provided research and policy support for the Transition Advice Fund.


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