In June 2018, the Home Office published their Statement of Intent for the EU Settlement Scheme which will open late in 2018. The scheme will be fully open by 30 March 2019. The deadline for all applications is 30 June 2021.
EU nationals and their family members will need to make applications to the Home Office, UK Visas and Immigration in order to obtain documents to secure their right to continue to live, work and access services in the UK. Some information about what we know so far is below. The Scheme does not cover everyone and if you are concerned as to whether you will be able to benefit from the Scheme, or question if you might be able to apply under a different route, take advice early on.
Who is the Scheme aimed at?
The Scheme is intended to be a straightforward user-friendly system for EU citizens and their family members who:
- by 31 December 2020 have been continuously resident in the UK for 5 years - they will be eligible for settled status,
- have arrived in the UK by 31 December 2020 but will not have yet been continuously resident here for 5 years – they will be eligible for pre-settled status. Holders of pre-settled status will be able to apply for settled status after 5 years.
What about family members who are not in the UK already?
Family members (e.g. a spouse, civil partner, durable partner, dependent child or grandchild, and dependent parent or grandparent) living overseas will still be able to join an EU citizen resident here after 31 December 2020 where the relationship existed before that date and continues to exist.
Can those with retained rights and derivative rights of residence benefit from the Scheme?
The statement of intent suggests that:
- applicants with a retained right of residence will be able to rely on the retained right and earlier residence to establish eligibility for settled status
- further details will be provided for those with a derivative right of residence and how they will be able to benefit from the scheme.
How do I apply?
The Home Office intend to provide a short, online application form. Otherwise, the fee will be £65.00 per adult and £32.50 for each child applying under the age of 16. The application will be fee-free for those who already hold Permanent Residence or Indefinite Leave to Remain and to certain other categories of applicants.
Are there specific requirements that I need to meet?
Applicants under the Scheme will need to ensure that they make a valid application and be able to show that they meet 3 core criteria. Brief details of which are below:
Documents such as a passport, national identity card or biometric residence permit should be sufficient to prove identity. Where the documents are biometric and have a ‘chip’ these can be uploaded online, otherwise the original documents will need to be posted to the Home Office.
Non-EU national family members will also need to provide documentation evidencing their relationship to the EU national.
Applicants who can show 5 years continuous residence will be eligible for a grant of settled status.
Applicants who can show residence at the time of the application but not for 5-years continuously will be eligible for pre-settled status.
The Statement of Intent includes detailed information about the documentary evidence required to show that the Eligibility requirements are met.
The Home Office will conduct checks against each applicant regarding any deportation or removal decisions, false representations or information being submitted with the application, or whether the individual is a serious or persistent criminal. Applications can be refused if the Suitability requirements are not met.
What if I do not agree with the Home Office decision?
If applicants think that the decision is wrong on any application submitted before 31 December 2020, they will be able to re-apply at any point before 30 June 2021.
Alternatively, the statement confirms that the Government intend to enable a right of Administrative Review to those who apply before 30 March 2019 and, subject to parliamentary approval, a right of appeal to the Immigration and Asylum Chamber to those who apply and are refused after 30 March 2019.
Will all EU nationals need to apply?
Irish nationals (and their non-Irish, non-British family members) will not be required to apply.
When should I apply?
Applicants can choose when they wish to apply but must make an application before 30 June 2021 to secure their right to live in the UK. The rights of EU nationals and their family members (to work, study, receive health treatment, rent property etc.) with settled and pre-settled status will continue as presently.
There will be no change to the rights of EU citizens and their family members until 31 December 2020. Remember that EU nationals and their family members will need to have completed 5 years residence and either a document endorsing permanent residence or settled status before they can apply to become British.
The timing of the application will attract different rights of challenge. As the Home Office have said that Students and Self-Sufficient applicants will not need to show Comprehensive Sickness Insurance under the Scheme, they may therefore prefer to wait until the scheme is in place rather than applying before the Schemes commencement in late 2018.
The statement suggests that the application process will be straightforward and that decision-makers will proactively engage with applicants to check errors or omissions, exercising evidential flexibility where appropriate.
Those who do not obtain documents by 30 June 2021 will lose their right to live in the UK lawfully.
As with any immigration application, it is advisable not to leave the process to the last minute and to check for last minute changes to the law, the application process and requirements. Further guidance will be published by the government for settlement and pre-settlement applications. In the meantime, our expert Immigration Solicitors in Manchester; headed by Naila Kosar can assist you with any queries that you have in relation to EU and all other immigration issues. Please get in touch today.