03 July 2018

The EU Settlement Scheme will allow EU citizens and their family members who are resident in the UK before 31 December 2020 to apply for UK immigration status. It will be mandatory to hold UK immigration status by 1 July 2021.

The scheme encompasses two new application types:

  • A pre-settlement application – where limited leave to remain will be granted for up to five years, after which time the individual will be eligible to make a settlement application
  • A settlement application – where indefinite leave to remain will be granted, once an applicant can demonstrate continuous residence in the UK for five years.

Eligibility for settled status

To be eligible for settled status, candidates must meet  the following four key criteria.

1. Arrival in the UK before 31 December 2020

EU citizens must have arrived in the UK before 31 December 2020 to be eligible to apply under the scheme. Close family members who live overseas can join the EU resident after this date, provided the relationship existed on 31 December 2020 and continues to exist when the family member wishes to come to the UK.

Close family members includes spouses, civil partners, durable partners (which means those in a relationship akin to a marriage or civil partnership for at least two years), and dependants. Future children are also protected.

2. Continuous residence

For applicants who have been in the UK for less than five years, they must not have been absent from the UK for longer than six months in any 12 month period. For applicants with more than five years residence in the UK, they must not have been absent in the UK for more than five years since completing that period of five years’ continuous residence.

The Home Office will use HMRC and DWP data to satisfy itself that the continuous residence requirement has been met, but where DWP and HMRC data is not sufficient to show continuous residence, applicants will need to submit documentary evidence to demonstrate continuous residence, for example, bank statements, a signed letter from an employer or pay slips.

3. Proof of nationality/identity

Applicants will need to provide a passport, national identity card or biometric residence permit as evidence of their nationality and identity. An app for smartphones is being developed to allow scanned versions of passports/ID cards to be uploaded, so applicants don’t have to send off a physical copy.

4. Criminal record checks

The Home Office will run criminal record checks as part of the application process.

How do you apply?

There will be an online application via gov.uk to streamline the process.

Applications will cost £65 for adults and £32.50 for children under 16. However, applications are free if you already hold permanent residence or have indefinite leave to remain.

When do applications open?

The scheme is being phased in from late 2018 and will be fully open by March 2019.

Under what circumstances will an application be refused?

So long as applicants meet the eligibility criteria (with continuous residence being the key requirement), the application can only be refused for a reason covered in the EU Withdrawal Agreement. Broadly speaking this means that the application will be granted unless the applicant was not resident in the UK by 31 December 2020 or they have serious criminal convictions/are a threat to national security.

What happens after settled status is granted?

Successful applicants will not receive a physical document. Instead they will be able to get proof of their status through an online service.

Getting settled status means an EU citizen can continue to live and work in the UK for as long as they like, and that they are eligible for:

  • public services, such as healthcare and schools
  • public funds and pensions
  • British citizenship (provided the requirements are met).

How can Burges Salmon help?

If you have any questions about your EU workforce, please get in touch with Huw Cooke.

Key contact

Huw Cooke

Huw Cooke Senior Associate

  • Employment
  • Business Immigration Services
  • Data Protection

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