What You Need To Know About The EU Settlement Scheme

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Amidst the uncertainty and chaos of Brexit, one assured change is in the law for EU, EEA* and Swiss citizens employed Britain and Northern Ireland.

The EU settlement scheme enables EU, EEA and Swiss citizens to continue living, working and studying in the UK after the 30th June 2021. With applications currently open in a live test phase, the full scheme will launch on the 30th March 2019. Successful applicants will either be granted settled or pre-settled status.

While the Home Office launches a multimillion-pound advertising campaign to increase awareness, it is down to employers to give their workforce sufficient time to apply by communicating this information as soon as possible.

Who needs to apply?

Employees who are a EU, EEA or Swiss citizen or a non-EU family member of an EU, EEA or Swiss citizen, wishing to remain living, working or studying in the UK. This includes those with a UK ‘permanent residence document’.

Those with indefinite leave to remain or enter the UK, or are a citizen of the Republic of Ireland, will not be required to apply.

Who is eligible?

EU citizens who have lived in the UK for five years at the date of applying are eligible for full settled status. Granting successful applicants indefinite leave to enter or remain in the UK and apply for British citizenship were eligible.

On the other hand, Pre-settled status is eligible to those who have lived in the UK for less than five continuous years and enables recipients to stay in the UK for a period of five years, before being eligible to apply for full settled status.

According to the Guardian, the Home Office has granted 135,000 cases in which 71% received settled status and the rest received pre-settled status, with none refused.

The provisions made for a ‘no-deal’ Brexit.

If the UK leaves the EU without a deal, the deadline for applications to be submitted will be moved forward from the 30th June 2021 to the 31st December 2020.

In a ‘no-deal’ Brexit, EU, EEA or Swiss citizens arriving to the UK on or after the 30th March 2019 will not be able to use the scheme at all. Instead, new arrivals will be able to visit, work and study in the UK for three months without a visa. A stay which is extendable for 36 months by applying for a ‘Temporary Leave to Remain’. The next step for those wishing to stay after the 36 months is to qualify for the UKs new skills-based immigration system which will begin from 2021. You can find more information on this here.

The application process is quick and easy.

The application can be completed online or by sending identity documents to the Home Office in the post and consists of three parts: identity, residence in the UK and criminality.

What do employees need in order to apply?

Applicants need to send their identity documents (valid biometric passport or biometric nation security card) to the Home Office via the ‘EU Exit: ID Document Check App’ or alternatively in the post.

Completing the application?

The application can be completed online and is described by the government to be ‘simple and fast’. According to a recent article in the Guardian, 75% of resolved cases received their decision within three days of applying and 80% found the application easy to complete.

There is no application fee when the scheme opens fully on 30 March 2019. However, those who wish to apply before this date will need to pay £65 (those aged 16 or over) or £32.50 (for those aged under 16). An amount that is automatically refunded after the scheme opens fully.

Irrespective of the turbulence unfolding over the coming weeks, we strongly recommend employers relay this information to those who are affected or eligible as soon as possible in order to give ample chance of remaining a member of their UK workforce.

*EU countries and also Iceland, Liechtenstein and Norway.

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