What has changed
On June 22, the United Kingdom (UK) Immigration Minister, Caroline Noakes announced that there had been an update to the “European Union (EU) Settlement Scheme” for EU citizens and their family members. These changes will come into effect later this year but will not be fully implemented until March 30, 2019.
Who is affected
- EU citizens and their family members
- Holders of permanent residence and those eligible for permanent residency
The EU Settlement Scheme
Obtaining status under the new scheme will enable EU citizens and their family members to live and work in the UK as they do now. Access to healthcare, schools and public services will remain unaffected. As expected, those affected should be eligible to apply for settled status after five (5) years residence in the UK. Those that do not qualify for settled status at the time of application will need to apply for what has now been named “pre-settled status”.
Pre-settled status will enable EU citizens and their family members to remain in the UK for an additional five (5) years under the same restrictions which apply today.
For the purposes of this scheme, family members include: a spouse, civil partner, unmarried partner, dependent children or grandchildren and dependent parents or grandparents. If a holder of settled status has a child born in the UK, the child will automatically be considered a British Citizen.
Holders of Permanent Residence
- Those who currently hold permanent residence granted under current EU law will be required to switch their status to the new settled status category.
- This is because after the implementation period scheduled to end on 31st December 2020, EU law will cease to apply in the UK, meaning a change in status covered under UK law will be required.
It has been confirmed that those applying for settled status will only need to complete the following three (3) key steps:
- Prove their identity (i.e. passport/identity card)
- Show that that they reside in the UK (automatic checks with other government departments should confirm employment/benefits, thus substantiating this)
- Declare they have no serious criminal convictions
Those who do not immediately qualify for settled status will be granted pre-settled status and will be able to apply a second time for settled status once they reach five (5) years of residency. As of April 2019, this second application will be free of charge. In addition, the Home Office has continued to announce that their new online application system will be accessible to all via mobile phone, tablets, laptops and computers.
The Home Office continues to communicate that applications will be approved if the basic requirements, as mentioned above, are met. Otherwise applications should only be refused if:
- The applicant is not a resident of the UK by the deadline of December 31, 2020 (the end of the transition period).
- It can be justified on the grounds of the applicant’s serious criminal convictions, security reasons or fraud.
The proposed fee for an adult settled status or pre-settled status application will be £65 and £32.50 for children under sixteen (16) years of age. For those who already hold valid permanent residence or indefinite leave to remain, they will be able to exchange this for settled status free of charge.
Deadline for Applications
The deadline for applications will be June 30, 2021. EU citizens and their family members’ rights will not change until after this date, so we recommend that applicants wait and see how the system copes with demand before submitting their applications.
What you need to do
Contact your Emigra Worldwide representative for further details on how these updates may impact you or your client.