EU Settlement Scheme – time is running out to apply
There are now less than 50 days left to apply to the EU Settlement Scheme (EUSS). The deadline to apply is 30 June 2021.
Who needs to apply for the EU Settlement Scheme?
All EU, EEA and Swiss nationals and their family members who were resident in the UK on 31 December 2020.
This includes anyone who already has a Residence Card or Permanent Residence under the EU Treaty and EEA Regulations. This status will only be valid until 30 June 2021.
Why do EU nationals need to apply for the EU Settlement Scheme?
To have the right to live in the UK, to work, study and access services like the NHS from 1 July 2021.
What can be applied for via the EU Settlement Scheme?
Those resident in the UK for 5 years or more can apply for Settled Status, which is Indefinite Leave to Remain.
Those who already have Permanent Residence will be granted Settled Status.
Those resident for less than 5 years can apply for Pre-Settled Status, which is limited Leave to Remain.
They can then apply for Settled Status when they have been resident for 5 years.
What happens if an application to the EU Settlement Scheme is not made by 30 June 2021?
Until 30 June 2021 an EU / EEA / Swiss Passport or ID card is sufficient proof of a right of residence in the UK.
However, from 1 July 2021 any EU / EEA / Swiss national or their family member who does not have Settled or Pre-Settled Status will be in the UK unlawfully.
They will have no right to live in the UK, to work, study or access services like the NHS.
To enter or stay in the UK they will need to meet the requirements of the Immigration Rules, as any other non-British national.
Can an application to the EU Settlement Scheme be made late?
The Home Office guidance states that late applicants must show that they have “reasonable grounds” for applying after 30 June 2021. Examples given are those who have a serious medical condition or are receiving treatment, children or victims of modern slavery.
The guidance does say that flexibility and the benefit of doubt will be shown.
However, until late applicants are granted status, they will have no right to remain in the UK so will be unable to work, study or access services. The guidance says that if they come to the attention of immigration enforcement, they will be issued with a Notice giving them 28 days to apply to the EUSS.
How long does an application to the EU Settlement Scheme take?
Applications can be processed very quickly, within a matter of days, for EU / EEA / Swiss nationals who apply online and whose residence can be verified easily. Applications for family members can take longer, particularly, if they need to attend a biometric enrolment appointment. More complex applications can also take longer.
However, there are reports of a large backlog in processing applications as detailed in this press coverage. This may result in applicants who apply towards the deadline not getting a grant of status by 30 June 2021.
A Certificate of Application is issued when an application is received which is proof of one having been made. This can be used to continue to access services.
What should people do what not yet applied for the EU Settlement Scheme?
To protect their right to continue living in the UK, any EU / EEA / Swiss nationals and their family members who have not yet applied must do so as soon as possible to the EUSS.
Businesses that employ EU / EEA / Swiss nationals should ensure that they have applied to the EUSS. Right to work checks will need to be undertaken on them from 1 July 2021.