In the recent Home Office publication “EU Settlement Scheme Statement of Intent,” Home Secretary Sajid Javid has once again reassured EU migrants that securing their rights in the UK is the government’s top priority. Despite persistent public reassurance from the Home Secretary, EU nationals are still nervous when it comes to their future in the UK as the deadline to leave the EU is fast approaching. However, there are encouraging signs for EU nationals as the “EU Settlement Scheme Statement of Intent” explains how EU nationals and their family members can secure their future in the UK post-Brexit.
What is the EU Settlement Scheme?
The UK Government recognises the positive contribution made by EU Citizens and their family members and plans to introduce a new EU Settlement Scheme which will enable EU nationals to secure their future in the UK post-Brexit. The Government believes that the EU Settlement Scheme is “a fair and comprehensive deal” which respects the rights of EU nationals. If the EU Settlement Scheme comes into force it would mean that:
- EU nationals and their family members who, by 31 December 2020 have been continuously resident in the UK for a period of 5 years will be eligible to apply for a settled status document;
- EU nationals and their family members who arrive in the UK by 31 December 2020 can apply for a pre-settled status document which can be converted to a settled status document once they have continuously resided in the United Kingdom for a period of 5 years;
- EU nationals can apply for their immediate family members to come and join them in the UK.
EU nationals who acquire a pre-settled status or settled status document will be given permission to reside in the UK freely without any restrictions and will have access to health care, pensions and other benefits in the UK.
Who can apply under the EU Settlement Scheme?
The Government has proposed that EU nationals and their family members who arrive in the UK before midnight on 31 December 2020 can secure their future in the UK under the EU Settlement Scheme by applying for either a pre-settled status or settled status document. As it stands EU nationals who are normally resident in the UK but are outside the UK on 31 December 2020 may still be eligible to benefit from the EU Settlement Scheme if they can show that they have maintained continuity of residency in the UK. The Home Office accept that there could be various reasons for absences such as business, holiday or living overseas temporarily.
A key distinction between the current free movement rules and the EU Settlement Scheme is that those applying will not be required to show that they hold comprehensive sickness insurance (where applicable) and does not require specific detail on the exercise of Treaty Rights.
What are the Eligibility Requirements for the EU Settlement Scheme?
The Government has decided that the main requirement for an application under the EU Settlement Scheme will be showing residence in the UK which is also referred to as “continuously resident” in the current rules/guidance. This residence requirement is very similar to the current free movement rule for EEA Permanent Residence applications. EU nationals will have the option of applying for a pre-settled status or a settled status document depending on how long they have been resident in the UK. It should be noted a reference to both documents is made in the Immigration Act 1971 as limited leave to remain (and will be granted under Appendix EU of the Immigration Rules).
For the purpose of applying for a settled status document “continuously resident” means a person who has been residing in the UK for 5 years and has not been absent from the UK for more than 6 months in total in any 12 month period. There is no specific number of permitted absences other than the above-mentioned absence. There are some exceptional and compelling circumstances where EU nationals will be able to apply for settled status even if they have not acquired 5 years residency in the UK. Please contact our immigration team for more information on this.
Using Legal Representation to Prepare a Settled Status Application under EU Settlement Scheme
Legal representatives, such as our specialist immigration and visa law firm, are qualified to advise you on immigration law and your immigration status. It is possible to instruct an immigration and visa legal representative to submit a Settled Status Application under EU Settlement Scheme.
Caseworkers at the Home Office are trained to reject applications which are improperly prepared, for example by failing to provide the correct supporting evidence. In order to ensure your Settled Status Application under EU Settlement Scheme succeeds, all necessary documents must be provided.
This can be a significant administrative task and you will need to submit the correct documentary evidence. The UK Immigration Rules are complex and a legal representative can help ensure that your Settled Status Application under EU Settlement Scheme meets the Immigration Rules.
Successful Settled Status Application under EU Settlement Scheme
Our team of solicitors and barristers are specialist immigration lawyers who act in your best interest. We offer a client-tailored approach from the outset. From the very first meeting, we will be able to advise you in respect of your immigration status and the merit of your Settled Status Application under EU Settlement Scheme before your matter even reaches the Home Office UK Visa & Immigration department. We can assist you with the preparation and submission of your Settled Status Application under EU Settlement Scheme and ensure that you meet all the requirements of the relevant rules.
We are based in the legal epicentre of London, just across the road from the Royal Courts of Justice in order to ensure we get the best results for our clients. LEXVISA is just minutes away from the Immigration and Asylum Tribunal, the Royal Courts of Justice and other central London courts.
Preparation is the key to a successful Settled Status Application under EU Settlement Scheme. Our UK immigration and visa solicitors are here to guide you through the complex immigration rules and requirements. If you wish to meet one of our lawyers, please call our Immigration Team so we can assess your case and arrange your legal consultation to discuss your Settled Status Application under EU Settlement Scheme.
Contact our London immigration solicitors on 02071830570 or complete our contact form.