10 January 2020
Since posting the blog below, the Government’s Withdrawal Agreement Bill has passed through the final stage in the House of Commons and so is a step closer to becoming law. This has consequences for those applying for settled or pre settled status.
The bill will now need to be passed to the House of Lords for debate and approval. This will take place next week. If the bill is approved by the House of Lords it will then become law.
It will then be placed before the European Parliament where it is very likely to be given the green light, given that it implements the deal made between the UK and EU on the terms under which the UK leaves the EU.
It is therefore now highly likely that the UK will leave the EU on 31 January 2020 with a deal.
If so, this will mean EU/EEA citizens will have until 30 June 2021 to make an application for either Settled or Pre-Settled Status to remain living in the UK.
9 January 2020
The UK is set to leave the European Union on 31 January 2020.
The Withdrawal Agreement Bill is currently being debated in Parliament but looks likely to be passed without major amendment given the Government’s large majority win in the December 2019 General Election.
What will change on 31 January 2020?
Free Movement will end on 31 January 2020. This means that EU/EEA nationals will no longer be able to come to UK to work, establish a business or study freely in the way that they can now and that their right to be joined by their family members will be also be restricted.
What do EU/EEA national and their family members need to do?
In order for EU/EEA nationals and their family members who are currently in the UK to remain there they must either apply for Settled or Pre-Settled Status.
However they do not have to do anything immediately as their existing rights to live in the UK to work, establish a business or study will be protected until the end of the transitional period.
If the UK leaves the EU with a deal, as appears more likely following the General Election, then they must apply by 30 June 2021.
If, however, the UK leaves the UK without a deal then they must apply by 31 December 2020, although a new deadline may be set by the Government.
Applicants currently outside the UK can also apply for Settled or Pre-Settled Status
Family members can apply to join an EU/EEA national family member in the UK already.
What is Settled Status?
Settled Status is Indefinite Leave to Remain in the UK under the Immigration Rules and means that a person can stay in the UK permanently.
To qualify applicants need to show that they have been living in the UK continuously for 5 years prior to the date of application.
What is Pre-Settled Status?
Applicants who have not lived in the UK continuously for 5 years or who are unable to prove this can apply instead for Pre-Settled Status.
To qualify applicants need to show that they are currently living in the UK. Once they have lived continuously in the UK for 5 years they can then apply for Settled Status.
How do people apply?
Most applications for either Settled or Pre-Settled Status can be made online through GOV.UK website. There are some exceptions e.g. derivative rights applications.
Applications can be made from inside or outside the UK.
Applicants need to verify their identity. If they have a valid passport with a biometric chip they can do this using the EU Exit: ID Document Check Mobile App. Alternatively they can attend a Document Scanning Centre to have their passport scanned or can post their passport to the Home Office.
Non-EU/EEA national applicants who do not hold a Biometric Residence Permit already will need to attend a biometric enrolment appointment at a nominated centre in the UK or overseas.
How much will it cost?
It is free to apply. However, family members who need to enrol their biometric information will be charged a fee for an appointment. In the UK this can cost from £60.
How long will it take?
The current published processing time is 5 working days if no further information is required. If further information is required then a decision can take longer.
What do successful applicants receive?
Most applicants will not receive any physical document to confirm their Settled or Pre-Settled Status. Successful applicants will receive an email to confirm the outcome but if they need proof of their status e.g. to prove their right to work in the UK, they need to use the GOV.UK service which will give them a share code to use:
Non-EU/EEA national family members will however be issued with a Biometric Residence Permit.
What should employers be aware of?
Employers need to check if they have any employees who may be affected and provide them with support to apply for Settled or Pre-Settled Status.
Until the end of the transitional period, so either 31 December 2020 or 30 June 2021, EU/EAA nationals have the right to work in the UK without needing to provide any additional evidence of their status apart from their Passport or national ID card. They do not need to have applied for or been granted Settled or Pre-Settled Status to be able to continue working lawfully.
The Government is currently not looking to apply illegal working legislation to EU/EEA nationals until after the end of the transitional period.
If you would like advice on applying for Settled or Pre-Settled Status or for more advice on employing EEA nationals and their family members, visit our immigration pages or contact us on 0191 232 9547 or email firstname.lastname@example.org