The UK Government has developed a scheme, called the ‘settled status’ scheme, for EU nationals to apply for residence in the UK after Brexit.
The scheme will be open to all EU nationals resident in the UK from March 2019 onwards. On 29 November 2019 however, the UK Government is launching a live trial in which EU nationals working in higher education and health and social care sector in England, Northern Ireland, Scotland and Wales can apply for, and secure, settled status. Securing this new status will prove (for example, to employers or public service providers) that you have the right to continue to live and work in the UK, and to access public funds and services in the future.
Can I take part in the pilot?
Yes, from 29 November 2018 to 21 December 2018, you will be able to apply to take part in the settled status pilot if:
- you are a resident EU citizen with a valid passport or a non-EU national family member of an EU citizen and you have a biometric residence card and
- work in the higher education or health and social care sector in England, Northern Ireland, Scotland and Wales.
How do I apply?
The Home Office have created a registration form to receive the URL for the application process from 29 November.
Depending on how long you have been resident in the UK, the Home Office will process your application under the ‘pre-settled status’ or ‘settled status’ scheme:
- If you have lived in the UK continuously for five years you will be eligible for settled status. This will enable you to stay indefinitely.
- If you have not completed 5 years continuous residence you will be eligible for pre-settled status. This status will be granted under UK domestic immigration law.
What does the EU Settlement scheme involve?
You will need to complete three sections to:
- prove your identity
- show that you live here
- declare that you have no serious criminal convictions.
How much does it cost?
- £65 for adults
- £32.50 for children under 16.
If you already have valid permanent residence or indefinite leave to remain documentation you will not have to pay a fee.
You will also have access to a new dedicated contact centre and case work team at the Home Office that will be in place to support EU citizens.
You can find further information on the eligibility requirements for the pilot of the gov.uk webpages as well as information on ‘how to apply’ through these links.
I already hold permanent residence status do I still need to apply?
If you already hold permanent residence status you must still apply for settled status. The process of applying will be much simpler and some requirements of the scheme are more generous than that of permanent residence. Firstly, it is not a requirement to hold Comprehensive Sickness Insurance under the scheme and those who hold settled status can be absent from the UK for five consecutive years before their status lapses.
Can my family members also take part?
Your family members won’t be able to take part in the pilot unless they are also eligible through their employment with a participating organisation or they are also being supported by one of the participating community organisations. Otherwise they will have to wait until 29 March 2019 when the scheme will be open to all eligible applicants.
If you have taken part in the pilot, your application will then be linked to the applications made by your family members when the scheme is fully launched.
Do I need to take part in the trial?
There is no obligation to take part in the pilot but doing so gives you the benefit of getting your residence status early. You will also benefit from the Home Office advisors being close at hand to walk you through the process.
When will the scheme be opened to all EU nationals?
As mentioned earlier, the EU Settlement Scheme will be fully operational from March 2019. To be eligible to apply you’ll need to be an EU citizen, or a family member of an EU citizen and be resident in the UK before the end of the ‘implementation period’ on 31 December 2020.
If you are an Irish citizen, you do not need to apply for settled status. Your residence rights are not dependent on the UK’s membership of the EU. But you can apply if you wish and your eligible family members may also apply for settled status without you having to do so.
You and your family members with either status will have the same access as you currently do to healthcare, pensions and other benefits in the UK.
Please see the above sections on What does the EU Settlement scheme involve? and How much does it cost?
The deadline to submit applications is 30 June 2021.
What if the UK leaves the EU without a deal?
As set out in the recent BMA briefings, the UK government has said that EU citizens in the UK can stay in the event of a no deal, based on what’s included in the draft withdrawal agreement. The BMA is seeking additional, concrete assurances from the Government that the rights of EU citizens’ in the UK are protected.
Is there any guidance available?
Yes, the Home Office has produced some guidance as well as a useful Briefing pack and Poster to raise awareness of the scheme.
If you are an employer, guidance was published containing useful information for both you and your employees.