Skip to content

We use cookies to make the site simpler. By continuing to use this site and closing this message you agree to our use of cookies.Find out more about cookies

Close alert

Dorset and Brexit: The UK's exit from the EU

On 23 June 2016 the UK voted to leave the European Union (EU), via a nationwide referendum.

Nationally 52% of voters opted to leave the EU. In the Dorset Council area, 56% of voters opted to leave, 44% remain. 

In preparation for the UK’s exit from the EU, Dorset Council has set up two Brexit groups – one strategy group and one operations group. These two groups have been meeting regularly to ensure Dorset Council is taking all the necessary steps to prepare locally for the UKs exit from the EU. The groups include representatives from across the organisation and work collaboratively with external partners to understand the challenges and opportunities posed by Brexit. 

The groups aim to:

  • ensure robust business continuity plans are in place across the organisation to safeguard the continuation of critical services to residents
  • examine the potential economic and social impact of leaving without a deal on communities in Dorset
  • support residents and businesses through the process of the UK leaving the EU
  • work with partners to ensure effective community tension monitoring systems are in place and provide reassurance that Dorset remains an open and tolerant place to live and work
  • protect Dorset’s reputation as a place that is open for business and can attract international investment

How we are preparing for Brexit

We have published a high-level risk register that considers the potential implications of a No Deal Brexit for the council. This report assesses risk and identifies the threats and opportunities.

See our frequently asked questions for further information about how we are preparing for Brexit.

Information for EU residents living or working in Dorset

The UK government has reached an agreement with the EU that will protect the rights of EU citizens and their family members living in the UK. It has also reached an agreement with Norway, Iceland and Liechtenstein, and a separate agreement with Switzerland.

These agreements mean that most citizens from the EU, Norway, Iceland, Liechtenstein and Switzerland will need to apply to stay in the UK. They can then continue living their lives here as they do now.

Apply for settled or pre-settled status

If you’re an EU, European Economic Area (EEA) or Swiss citizen, and would like to continue living and working in the UK, you and your family can apply for free to the EU Settlement Scheme. The EEA includes the EU countries and also Iceland, Liechtenstein and Norway.

The deadline for applications to the EU Settlement Scheme is 30 June 2021. Apply to the EU Settlement Scheme (settled and pre-settled status)

EUSS Drop-in sessions

These drop-in sessions are free and open to the public to help with issues & questions involving the European Union Settlement Scheme.

Weymouth Library

 2pm-5pm 9th & 23rd January 6th & 20th February 5th &19th March

Bridport Citizens Advice

10am-3pm 31st January 28th February 27th March

Dorchester Library

1pm-4pm 16th & 30th January 13th & 27th February 12th & 26th March

Swanage Children's Centre

10am-1pm 14th January 11th February 10th March

Blandford Parish Centre

12pm-3pm 7th January 4th February 3rd March


Businesses and self-employed

If you are a business owner and trade any goods or services with the EU you’ll need to get ready for Brexit.

For example, you need to take action if you:

  • export goods to the EU
  • import goods from the EU
  • transport goods by road
  • export animals or animal products

Find out how to prepare your business for Brexit

Other sources of information and advice

Bournemouth, Christchurch and Poole Council’s Citizens Advice is working to support vulnerable EU citizens across Dorset, by offering help with applications to the EU Settlement Scheme. For details of local support available to help people claim settled status, email

Advice can also be found at Dorset Race Equality Council

All the latest government guidance on how the UK is preparing to exit the EU 

Rate this page

Have some feedback?

Your feedback

This form is to report content that is wrong, or any issues or feedback you have about the web page.

Contact us if you want to get in touch about a council service instead.

All fields are required.

Leave your email address so that we can provide a response.

This helps us direct your feedback to the appropriate council.

General data protection regulation (GDPR)

We will only use the personal information supplied by you in accordance with GDPR. By giving us this information you are consenting to such use as set out in our privacy notice.