22 janvier 2019
The Home Office launched public testing of its much publicised EU Settlement Scheme (EUSS) on 21 January 2019. Testing is open to all EU nationals who hold valid passports and family members who hold valid biometric residence cards. It is accessible via the gov.uk website and on Android devices but not currently on iPhones. The EUSS will be fully rolled out on 29 March 2019. Under the EUSS EU nationals with more than 5 years UK residence will be granted ‘settled status’. Applicants with under 5 years’ residence will receive ‘pre-settled status’.
There are three key steps:
Only those who do not meet the eligibility criteria (eg their absence exceeds 6 months in any of the qualifying years or they have serious and/or multiple criminal convictions) should fall for refusal.
Successful applicants will be granted a digital status under the EUSS. No actual document will be issued. The status will be verifiable online by the holder, employers, landlords etc.
Prime Minister Thersa May announced on 21 January that the £65 fee for the EUSS will be scrapped. Those who have already paid will be refunded in full. This concession will be welcomed by employers and EU nationals alike.
How will the EUSS be operated if there is "No deal"?
Not necessarily. The EUSS should deliver a simple and fast route with no charge which will clearly appeal to most EU nationals and employers. However those who would like to apply for British citizenship should still consider whether to apply under the current permanent residence route. The existing PR route may allow holders to apply for citizenship straight away rather than waiting for a further 12 months after the settled status has been issued under the EUSS. If you would like to discuss how this fast changing area affects you or your business please contact Vikki Wiberg, Charlie Pring or your usual immigration contact at Taylor Wessing.