The recent Statement of Changes in Immigration Rules HC 2631 published earlier this month contains amendments to the new EU Settlement Scheme. Whilst the changes in comparison to other visa categories seems fairly minor, it is important that any Settlement Scheme Applicants are aware of the revisions as well as all of the other rules and requirements to ensure they are successfully granted leave under the Scheme. Our team specialises in applications for EEA nationals and their family members, and are happy to arrange a consultation in order for our solicitor to let you know how we can assist with your application.
What is the EU Settlement Scheme?
The EU Settlement Scheme was created in the aftermath of the UK’s decision to leave the European Union; therefore putting an end to free movement and the rules and applications made under the current EU Regulations. The Scheme allows EEA nationals and their family members to continue living in the UK. It is free for all Applicants to apply to the Scheme and it will allow EU nationals and their family members to:
- work in the UK;
- use the NHS;
- enrol in education or continue studying;
- access public funds such as benefits and pensions (if eligible); and
- travel in and out of the UK – Applicants who are granted settled status can spend up to 5 years in a row outside the UK without losing their status. Applicants with pre-settled status can spend up to 2 years in a row outside the UK without losing their status. They will need to maintain their continuous residence in the UK if they want to qualify for settled status.
Unlike the current EEA applications, no psychical document is given to confirm settled and pre-settled status; it is stored on an online database.
The deadline for applying if the UK leaves the EU without a deal is 31 December 2020 and Applicants will need to be in the UK before applying. Applicants who can show 5 years continuous residence will be granted Settled Status (the equivalent to Permanent Residence or indefinite leave to remain under the immigration rules). Applicants who have not been in the UK for a continuous period of 5 years will be granted pre-settled status until they reach 5 years, and may then apply for settled status.
What changes have been made to the Scheme under the new Statement of Changes in Immigration Rules?
Minor and technical changes have been made to the Immigration Rules for the EUSS family permit in Appendix EU (Family Permit) in order “to improve their clarity and operation for applicants, caseworkers and entry clearance officers”. Some of these changes are listed as follows:
- Clarify the definitions relating to relevant dual nationals; specifically, EEA nationals who have naturalised as British citizens and whose family members can apply under the Scheme
- Evidence of family relationship – an EEA citizen applicant (like a non-EEA citizen applicant) without documented permanent residence status will need to provide relevant evidence about their EEA citizen family member, where they are relying on their relationship to that person (rather than on their own residence as an EEA citizen);
- Requirement for an Applicant who relies on being the ‘dependent parent’ of an EEA citizen to evidence that dependence where their child is under the age of 18;
- Discretionary grounds for refusing an application under the Scheme where there has been a previous cancellation of EU Settlement Scheme leave or leave acquired having arrived in the UK with an entry clearance granted under Appendix EU (Family Permit), or a previous refusal of admission. Refusal of the application can be justified on the grounds of public policy, public security or public health;
- A family member relying for their status on an EEA citizen who has ‘ceased activity’ in the UK, must have been resident in the UK as their family member at that point, consistent with the Free Movement Directive.
Due to the uncertainty which still surrounds Brexit, there appears to still be some confusion relating to the EU Settlement Scheme, as well as a lot of procedural difficulties that have been raised by many Applicants. To help get clarity on the Scheme and advice on the requirements and documents needed, contact LEXVISA Immigration Team in order to arrange a consultation with our solicitors specialising in EU law, to help ensure applications made under the Scheme are prepared correctly and as strongly as possible, in order to avoid a refusal.
Access the full September 2019 Statement of Changes in Immigration Rules here: Statement of Changes in Immigration Rules HC 2631 9 September 2019 | LEXVISA Immigration Lawyers London
Using Legal Representation to prepare an Application under the 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 an application under the 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 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 application meets the relevant rules.
Successful EU Settlement Scheme applications
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 EU Settlement Scheme application before your matter even reaches the Home Office UK Visa & Immigration department. We can assist you with the preparation and submission of your EU Settlement Scheme application 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 successful applications under the 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 application.
Contact our London immigration solicitors on 02071830570 or complete our contact form.