• EU citizens urged to apply for UK settled status
  • UK Screen Alliance: “Brexit outcome is so unclear”
  • Applications free for EU settlement scheme

UK-based VFX, post and animation workers have been urged to apply for settled status before Brexit potentially ends free movement.


The UK Screen Alliance has advised skilled European workers currently in the UK or those planning to enter before 31 December 2020 to apply for the settled or pre-settled status to obtain the right to remain indeifntiely in the UK.

According to UK Screen Alliance, a trade body that represents British companies working in the film, TV and commercials industries, the status application will give individuals “considerable advantage in gaining jobs in the UK in the future” and will enable those that qualify as settled “to live and work as usual in the UK after Brexit.”

UK Screen Alliance chief executive Neil Hatton told IBC365: “The Brexit outcome is so unclear at present that it is difficult to calculate the impact of the potential scenarios.

“Our call for EU citizens who are already working in the UK to apply for settled status, is an attempt to mitigate against some of those impacts.”

The UK is expected to tighten its border controls at the close of 2020, when it is likely that restrictions on the opportunities for non-UK citizens to gain employment will be imposed. This could financially impactUK organisations as they may be required to support visa applications.

The uncertainty of Brexit remains a major concern for the UK’s VFX, post-production and animation industries, particularly with the end to free movement for EU citizens.

Hatton added: “One in three people working in the UK’s VFX industry are from Europe and therefore future visa policy for EU citizens will pose significant challenges.

“It’s unlikely that we will be able to magic up a new load of UK domiciled, highly talented VFX workers, within the Brexit timescale. Even if we could, is it really desirable to only have UK workers in an industry where our clients have a global choice of where they place their projects?

“They expect the world’s best talent, not just the UK’s best.”

EU citizens who have already been in the UK for five consecutive qualifying years are entitled to settled status, while those that are yet to qualify years can receive pre-settled status.

Under the EU settlement scheme this will enables EU citizens to live and work in the UK after Brexit until they stay in the UK for the necessary five qualifying years to achieve settled status.

The Alliance has highlighted the ease to qualify for pre-settled and settled status, as well as the application process is free of charge.

“ [The UK government] must listen to business and realise the damage they can inflict on sectors like VFX and animation by following the ideological migration policies” – Neil Hatton, UK Screen Alliance

In a statement, it said: “There is no real downside for EU citizens currently in the UK to apply whether they intend to stay in the UK for the long-term or not and this will keep their options open for their future employment in the UK.”

A qualifying year toward settled status is defined as being a resident in the UK for more than six months in any 12-month period and once settled status is achieved, an EU citizen can be absent from the UK for up to five years before they lose their settled status.

Neil hatton

Neil Hatton: UK Screen Alliance CEO

Hatton continued: “Apart from respecting the reciprocal rights of EU citizens already in the UK, future visa policy is not subject to negotiation with Brussels. It is unilaterally in the UK government’s own hands.

“They must listen to business and realise the damage they can inflict on sectors like VFX and animation by following the ideological migration policies set out in the Immigration White Paper.”

UK broadcasters need certainty 
More than £1 billion a year is invested in wages, content, overheads and the technology required to get channels on air, helping ensure the UK broadcasting sector has the critical mass to compete on the global stage.

According to a recent report for COBA, international channels are worth £1 billion a year to the UK. These channels employ thousands of UK-based talent with more than one in five jobs in the UK broadcasting sector are related, wholly or in part, to international channels.

The Association for International Broadcasting (AIB) chief executive Simon Spanswick said: “The key challenge at this stage remains uncertainty.

“With no clear answers on whether or not Britain will leave the EU with a deal or not, or indeed if Brexit will be delayed, it is challenging for broadcasters to take key decisions on whether there is a need to seek a licence or licences in another jurisdiction.”