This week marked the beginning of the period whereby EU citizens living in the UK can register to apply for “settled status” as the post-Brexit registration system opens nationwide.
The Government has made the process as easy as possible: developing a smartphone app, hiring 1,500 new caseworkers and investing £175million into the new scheme.
Those who have lived in the UK for at least five years will be able to apply for settled status. Citizens already in possession of a permanent residency document will be able to exchange this free of charge for new settled status documentation.
“Pre-settled status” will generally be granted when a citizen has not lived in the UK for at least five years. A citizen who acquires pre-settled status is entitled to live in the UK and apply for settled status as soon as they have lived in the UK for five years.
The new system for obtaining settled status will be streamlined, user-friendly and draw on existing Government data to minimise the burden on applicants to provide evidence.
Applications will not be refused on minor technicalities without the applicant being given the opportunity to rectify them, and caseworkers considering applications will exercise discretion in favour of the applicant where appropriate.
The Home Office has said it expects most of cases to be granted, with refusals most likely to be because of serious criminality or if the person is not an EU citizen (or family member).
Once obtained, people will be able to be absent from the UK for up to five years without losing their settled status. This is more than double the level of absence allowed under current EU law.
This week, in her statement to the House of Commons the Prime Minister announced that the Government will waive the application fee for settled status and anyone who has or will apply during the pilot phase will have their fee reimbursed.
You can read a transcript of the Prime Minister’s full statement at the below web address.
Some EU Member States have similarly guaranteed the rights of British nationals in a No Deal scenario - and the Government are stepping up our efforts to ensure that they all do so.
I have included below a link to the direct Gov.uk “Settled and Pre-settled status for EU citizens and their families” website, as it will be useful for many of my constituents.
As always, I will be keeping you up to date with all ongoing developments in Brexit policy here on my blog.