Hackney and Brexit

About 15% of Hackney residents - 41,500 people - are from other EU countries. Hackney had the third highest Remain vote in the UK, with 78.5% of residents voting to stay in the EU.

European citizens in Hackney make an enormous contribution to the civic, economic and cultural life of the borough. They are our friends, neighbours, colleagues and valued members of our communities.

They also a bring a huge benefit to our local economies through their skills, expertise, creativity, energy and innovation, and have been at the heart of Hackney's fantastic business growth -  40% since 2010.

Many of our thriving local businesses in tech, creative, manufacturing, hospitality and other industries, have been founded or enriched by EU nationals who chose to make their home here. They are also vital to our local health and social care system.

In 2017, Mayor of Hackney Philip Glanville launched the #hackneylovesyou campaign to help show our EU citizens how much we value them.

On January 23 this year, the Council passed a motion calling on the Prime Minister to rule out a 'no deal' Brexit and extend Article 50 if necessary, to avoid the UK leaving the EU with 'no deal'. It also supported the right of Parliament to stop a 'no deal' scenario to help ensure enough time is given for all options, including a public or 'people's vote', with a clear option to remain in the EU on the table.

A primary source for information on Brexit is Gov.uk - Brexit, which has separate sections on all associated issues. Below is a range of other advice and information.

EU citizens living in Britain

The UK Government and the European Commission have published a joint report agreeing on the rights of EU citizens living in the UK after its withdrawal from the EU.

The agreement means that EU citizens living in the UK will have their rights to live, work or get benefits preserved so that they can carry on living as they do now.

Family members living lawfully with their EU citizen relatives are also protected.  

In October 2018, we helped organise an event by the European Commission where EU citizens could access the latest information about their rights around Brexit, and ask questions of an independent immigration lawyer.

The session is available to view on the European Commission in the UK's Facebook page

Settled status

Those who have already have 5 years of continuous lawful residence in the UK will be eligible for settled status. Others will be able to remain in the UK to build-up 5 years' continuous residence provided they apply for pre-settled status.  

The settled status scheme will open fully by March 2019. The deadline for applying will be 30 June 2021, though you must have started living in the UK by 31 December 2020. You may be able to apply after this date if you're joining a family member in the UK.

EU citizens and their family members (defined as spouses, civil partners and durable partners, dependent children and grandchildren, and dependent parents and dependent grandparents) who obtain settled status in the UK will be granted indefinite leave to remain.

This will provide the holder with the same rights and access to benefits, education and healthcare as those who have acquired permanent residence.

Children born or adopted after the UK leaves the EU to those covered by the agreement will be protected. Future spouses and partners of EU citizens who want to come to the UK after the 29 March 2019 will need to meet the UK's immigration rules.

The Prime Minister recently confirmed that, even in the result of a 'no deal', the protections and processes above would still hold.

The Council is participating in a Home Office pilot to test the EU settlement scheme ahead of public launch. It runs until 21 December 2018 and includes a walk-in advice service.

Feedback will be used to make improvements to the process before the scheme fully launches.

Other advice and guidance

  • visit the European Commission for questions and answers which explain the rights of European and UK citizens in various situations
  • UK Citizenship for European Nationals provides free advice on obtaining residence documentation for EEA nationals and their family to attain settled status
  • Citizens Advice has information on Brexit and how it affects you. It also shows you how to contact your nearest Citizens Advice office if you think you've been discriminated against since the referendum (eg unfairly refused work / housing, or told your rights have changed)
  • the Immigration Law Practitioners' Association has a searchable directory (based on area) for where you can get immigration advice
  • New Europeans has produced 4 survival guides for EU citizens living in the UK. They include information on
    • citizenship rights post-Brexit
    • how to get involved in the community
    • how to get involved politically as an EU citizen


There are still many uncertainties about what the business and trade arrangements will be post-Brexit and the implications for Hackney.

We have called for clarity and reassurance from government on this, and urged against a 'hard' Brexit.

Once more detail is confirmed about business and trade arrangements, we are planning to hold information and support sessions for local businesses.

The Government has created an employer's toolkit with advice and information to support EU citizens and their families to apply to the EU settlement scheme.

Several national business groups have information about the potential impact on businesses, what support is out there and proposals for how Brexit should be approached from a business perspective.

Impact on Hackney

Much of the impact on the borough, both short-term and long-term, is unknown, and will be until the final arrangements of leaving the EU have been agreed.

However, we published a report last year understanding the population implications of Brexit for the London Borough of Hackney [pdf, 167.04KB], which summarised the potential impact for Hackney's population, explored the effect on key employment sectors and suggested the potential longer term implications of leaving the EU.

Brexit implications are currently being reviewed and we will publish further assessments of impact in due course.

We are currently considering, along with health providers and other local and national partners, what the impact on services and service demand could be, so we can ensure continuity of support to residents and businesses regardless of what the outcome of Brexit negotiations are and the future relationship with the EU.

Other information

The London Assembly has lots of information about Brexit, including: impact assessments, the work of its committees and the views of the Mayor of London.

The Local Government Association, which represents councils across England and Wales, has a Brexit section on its website which explains what reassurances and commitments local government wants.

The National Council for Voluntary Organisations (NCVO), which promotes the voluntary sector and volunteering, has a Brexit section on its website which explores the issues for its sector.

Page updated: 24/01/2019 12:37:43