Update on settled status for EEA nationals living and working in the UK after Brexit
On 7 November the government set out further details of how the new settled status scheme for EU citizens will operate after Brexit.
The government recognises that the current system for processing registration certificates and residence cards is not fit to deal with the situation after we leave the EU. It is therefore designing a new system from scratch which will draw on existing government data, such as records held by HMRC, to verify the residence of a worker to minimise the documentary evidence required. The government will not require evidence of comprehensive sickness insurance for these applications, it will not require every trip in and out of the UK to be explained, nor will EU Citizens be required to provide biometric information such as fingerprints. The fee will not exceed the cost of a British passport (currently £72.50). There will also be a right of appeal to the UK courts.
For EU Citizens who already hold a permanent residence document, there will be a simple process to exchange this for a settled status document, subject to ID verification and submission of a photograph, a security check and confirmation of ongoing residence. The previous residence assessment will not be re-done. The government intends to charge a reduced fee for such applications.
EU Citizens will have up to 2 years after the UK has left the EU to obtain settled status, during which time their current status will be protected. The government has sought to assure EU Citizens that applications won’t be refused on minor technical grounds – caseworkers will have discretion to allow applications where there are minor technical flaws.
The government is also proposing (subject to agreement by the EU) a voluntary application process under which EU Citizens can apply for the new settled status before we leave the EU. The timing for this depends on how quickly a deal is agreed with the EU and how quickly the government can get the new system up and running.
Applicants who are not able to evidence the five years’ continuous residence necessary to obtain settled status immediately after we leave the EU, but who can evidence that they were resident before a date to be specified by the government, will be given temporary status. This will enable them to remain in the UK until they have built up five years’ continuous residence allowing them to apply for settled status at a later date.
Our advice to EU Citizens remains to apply for permanent residence now if you are eligible to do so, enabling you to apply using the simplified process to exchange your status for a settled status document once the new system is introduced. For further information, please contact Kathryn Dooks.