This week the UK government announced the new ‘settled’ status available for EU nationals who have lived in the UK for at least 5 years after Brexit.
The Home Secretary stated that “EU citizens will have to answer three "simple" questions online if they want to continue living in the UK after Brexit".
Sajid Javid said the government's "default" position would be to grant, not refuse, settled status. This comes as change as The Home Office has come under extreme scrutiny in recent months for its “hostile environment” approach to migrants.
The Home Office published a statement stating the following:
“An ‘implementation period’ will run from when we leave the EU to 31 December 2020. The rights of EU citizens and their families living in the UK will not change until 1 January 2021. Until this date, EU citizens will continue to be able to live here and access public funds and services as they do at the moment.”
“From later this year, EU citizens and their family members living in the UK will be able to start applying for UK immigration status through the new EU Settlement Scheme.”
“People who are living in the UK by 31 December 2020 will have until 30 June 2021 to make an application for status under the scheme.”
“From 1 July 2021, EU citizens and their family members in the UK must hold or have applied for UK immigration status to be here legally.”
The EU Settlement Scheme will be compulsory for EU nationals and the UK government estimate up to £3.5 million and Mr Javid has insisted that the application process will be more “streamlined and user friendly”.
How much will it cost?
Applications will cost £65 for adults and £32.50 for children and be free for EU nationals who already have residency or indefinite leave to remain.
Applicants will need to provide their biographical information, declare whether they have any criminal records, and upload a facial photograph.
The process requires verification of the applicant's identity and nationality using a passport, ID card or other valid document, which can be done using a smartphone app or through secure post.
When will the scheme start?
The government hopes to start trials within a few weeks, with people allowed to start registering in the autumn.
Mr Javid stated that he wanted it to be fully operational by the "start of next year", adding that he wanted to avoid a "surge" of applicants when the UK leaves the EU in March.
“The scheme would run for at least two years after Brexit day, probably to around June 2021”
- Applicants without smartphones or computers will be able to fill in their application online at libraries and special contact centres
- Those without access to computers, or who are unable to use them, will be given assistance and may be visited at home by immigration officials
- Help with translation will also be offered
- People from the Republic of Ireland will not need to apply for settled status but can do so if they wish to
- Those with pre-settled status will be able to obtain settled status without additional charge
Most applicants will not have to provide supporting documents because their answers will be checked against HM Revenue and Customs and other government databases.
If you, or anyone you know are an EU national, trying to regulate their stay in the UK, please give us a call on 020 3693 7591 for a free 15 minute initial consultation.