As the Brexit divorce date (March 2019) draws closer, the Home Office has finally provided some guidance on the rights of European Union (EU) citizens to live and work in the UK after the exit from the EU. The Statement of Intent found here, sets out details of how the new EU Settlement Scheme will work, together with the proposed UK immigration rules that will support the operation of the scheme.
The new scheme also incorporates the agreement reached with the EU member states with regard to the treatment of EU nationals living in the UK. The introduction of this scheme will no doubt provide much needed reassurance to business owners throughout the UK, in that eligible EU citizens can continue to be valued contributors to the UK labour market.
Below is a brief summary of the EU Settlement Scheme:
- The scheme will be open for applications in the latter part of 2018.
- EU citizens and their family members do not need to do anything immediately, as their current right to work and live in the UK will remain unaffected until 31 December 2020.
- The application is a streamlined online process which is split into three key stages:
- Establishing an individual’s Identity;
- Criminal records check; and
- Evidence of residence in the UK.
- EU citizens and their family members who have lived in the UK continuously for 5 years will be eligible to apply for “settled status”. If the application is successful, the individual can live and work in the UK indefinitely.
- Any EU citizen and their family members, who have lived in the UK for less than 5 years by 31 December 2020, will be eligible to apply for “pre-settled status”. Subsequently, when they have lived in the UK for 5 years, they can apply for settled status.
- The deadline for making an application for settled status is 30 June 2021.
- Where anomalies occur the scheme caseworkers can exercise discretion in favour of applicants.
- Applicants who already hold a valid permanent residence or indefinite leave to remain document, are eligible to receive settled status free of charge.
- In all other cases, applications will cost £65 for adults and £32.50 for children (aged less than 16 years).
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“There will be plenty of time for EU citizens and their family members to apply for their UK immigration status. There will be no change to their current rights under EU law until 31 December 2020, and the deadline for applications to the scheme for those resident here by the end of 2020 will be 30 June 2021.”