Brexit: What is the EU Settlement Scheme and How to Apply?

January 31, 2019

This month Conor McCrory of Cleaver Fulton Rankin discusses the recently launched EU Settlement Scheme by the Home Office which is currently undergoing a pilot before the official launch date of 30 March 2019.
Millions of EU citizens living in the UK will have until June 2021 to apply for ‘pre-settled’ or ‘settled status’ in the UK as the EU Settlement scheme is rolled out. The scheme was introduced because from 29 March 2019 the UK will no longer be an EU Member State. ‘Pre-settled’ status will apply to EU citizens who have been in the UK for less than 5 years. ‘Settled’ status will provide permanent residency for EU citizens who have lived in the UK for 5 or more continuous years.

I have looked at the findings of both stages of the pilot scheme which have been in operation since earlier in the month with some positive results. However, with over 3.5 million EU citizens residing in the UK how will the scheme operate for more complex EU applications? There is little in the form of guidance in relation to more complex cases such as Surinder Singh or Zambrano applications. If there are complexities with your EU status, it may be worth making further enquiries with Cleaver Fulton Rankin to assess the likeliness of success under the new EU Settlement scheme.

Guidance published by the Home Office states that all EU citizens and people should apply to regularise their immigration status, except the following:

• British citizens
• Irish citizens
• Citizens of Norway, Iceland, Liechtenstein and Switzerland
• Those born in the UK who have at least one parent with settled status
• People entitled to permanent residency in the UK

EU citizens who have a permanent residence document will still need to apply under the new scheme. Non-EU nationals in the UK with an EU spouse, civil partner or unmarried partner will also need to apply under the scheme. Interestingly, Theresa May announced that the £65 Home Office fee would be waived for applications made under the new scheme. The PM has outlined “I can confirm that when we roll out the scheme in full on 30 March, the government will waive the application fee so that there is no financial barrier for any EU nationals who wish to stay. Anyone who has applied during the pilot phase will have their fee reimbursed.”

So how do I apply?

To apply for ‘pre-settled’ or ‘settled’ status, people need to use an Android app to confirm their identity using their passport. The applicant may also go to the gov.uk website to provide evidence they have lived continuously in the UK for 5 years. Those who have an iPhone or other device, or aren’t online because they are elderly or disabled can get help at one of 13 centres around the UK.
The vast majority of applicants are expected to receive an outcome within 3-7 days. The Home Office have said that each case will be considered individually, but those with an adverse immigration history or unspent convictions may face refusal onto the scheme. The Government have said that if an application is rejected, the applicant has 28 days from the date of their decision to appeal if eligible.

The Home Office has published an Employers’ Toolkit to increase awareness about the EU Settlement Scheme amongst employers. Any private individuals wishing to apply under the new scheme should look to consult the resources on .gov.uk. Cleaver Fulton Rankin has submitted a number of applications under the pilot scheme and continues to monitor any changes to the application process moving forward. If you wish to obtain further advice and guidance on the EU settlement scheme or indeed any immigration matter, please see contact details below.

This article has been produced for general information purposes and further advice should be sought from a professional advisor. Immigration is a complex area of law for both corporates and individuals. Please contact our Immigration Law Team at Cleaver Fulton Rankin for further advice or information.
Conor McCrory, Associate, Immigration Law Team, Cleaver Fulton Rankin, Solicitors.