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Employment Law

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Veale Wasborough Vizards , 13 NOV 2017

Settled Status Scheme for EU Citizens - Further Details Released by Government

Settled Status Scheme for EU Citizens - Further Details Released by Government
Judith Hockin
Veale Wasbrough Vizards

The question of what will happen to EU citizens who are currently residing in the UK is one of the key issues to be addressed under the Brexit process.

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The Government has now provided a further update as to how the new settled status scheme will operate.

In a technical note published on 7 November, the Government sets out its plans for a 'streamlined' application system. Under that new system EU citizens and their family members who wish to stay in the UK and come within the scope of the formal agreement governing the UK's withdrawal from the EU will have around two years after Brexit to submit applications for settled status or temporary status that will allow them to complete the required period of residence for settled status.

The note envisages that all EU citizens and their family members who can evidence that they are lawfully resident before a yet-to-be-determined specified date will be granted status by the UK authorities unless one of the relevant grounds for refusal applies. The grounds for refusal will be set out in the Withdrawal Agreement and are expected to be based on the applicant not being resident before the specified date or on criminality or security grounds.

The Government have also confirmed that it intends to adopt a pragmatic approach to the processing of these applications, confirming that under the new scheme they will not continue to enforce some of the more controversial requirements currently applied to applications for the existing documents issued to EU nationals and their family members such as the requirement to hold comprehensive sickness insurance for students and the self-sufficient and the application of a 'genuine and effective work' requirement. Additionally, the intention is that applicants will not be asked for detailed biometric data, such as fingerprints.

Unsuccessful applicants will have the opportunity to appeal refusals and will be able to remain in the UK pending the conclusion of the appeals process, subject to no deportation decision being made or the individual being in breach of a deportation or exclusion order.

The note emphasises that this will be an entirely new system which is designed for dealing with the specifics of the Brexit process and envisages consulting with various users along the way. There is a commitment to keeping the costs down, with applications costing no more than a British passport. Further details of how the system will operate have not yet been revealed, although the note does suggest that it will be possible to submit applications online.

Best Practice

The technical note provides a brief outline of what the application system will look like. Many of the finer details of the system are yet to be clarified however what is apparent is that the process is likely to be more streamlined for those who already hold a valid EEA Permanent Residence Card. The note states that subject to ID verification and a security check as well as confirmation of ongoing residence, there will be a simple process to exchange documentation confirming that someone has acquired permanent residence for settled status documentation.

For those who have not already done so and are able to apply, it would therefore appear to still be worthwhile submitting applications for permanent residence documentation now.