The EU Settlement Scheme has been fully open since 30 March 2019. EU, other EEA and Swiss citizens, and their family members have until 30 June 2021 to apply.
What is the EU Settlement Scheme?
- The EU Settlement Scheme is a free Scheme which enables EEA and Swiss citizens resident in the UK, and their family members, to obtain the status they will require in order to live and work in the UK after 30 June 2021.
- Applicants only need to complete three key steps – prove their identity, show that that they live in the UK, and declare any criminal convictions.
- It is designed to be as simple and straightforward as possible. For further information, click here.
How many people have applied?
- According to the latest published statistics up to the end of February 2020, there have been more than 3.34 million applications and internal figures show that more than 3 million have been granted status.
- Updated figures are published each month and more detailed figures are published quarterly.
What support is available?
- There is a wide range of support available online, over the phone and in person to help people apply to the EU Settlement Scheme.
- There are over 1,500 Home Office staff working on the EU Settlement Scheme with 250 Settlement Resolution Centre staff in place to provide assistance to applicants with any questions about the scheme or who need help applying.
- Last year, the Home Office made up to £9 million available to 57 voluntary and community sector organisations across the UK to help vulnerable or at-risk EEA citizens to apply. A further £8 million of funding for the 2020-2021 financial year was announced earlier this year.
- Additional support is available to those EU citizens in the UK who do not have the appropriate access, skills or confidence to apply online. This includes over 300 assisted digital locations across the UK where people can be supported through their application.
- There are over 80 locations where applicants can have their passport scanned and verified across the UK.
Have there been any refusals?
- According to the latest statistics up to the end of February 2020, there had been less than 300 suitability and eligibility refusals.
- Less than 2% of those refusals were on suitability grounds with more than 98% refused on eligibility grounds.
- Refusals are always a last resort and do not change that person’s existing rights under EU law. Home Office caseworkers will have often worked for months to try to get in touch with the applicant to help them provide the evidence required.
- In cases where an applicant is refused, the Home Office will write to them to explain why they have been refused and what steps they need to take.
- If an individual disagrees with the decision to refuse their application, they can ask for an administrative review of the decision or apply again free of charge until 30 June 2021. Depending upon when they applied, they may also have a right of appeal.
What is the difference between a suitability refusal and an eligibility refusal?
- Suitability refusals will be made where there is evidence of serious or persistent criminality.
- This involves considering whether a person represents a genuine, present and sufficiently serious threat affecting one of the fundamental interests of society.
- This includes the threat the individual poses, their length of time in the UK, health and family ties and propensity to reoffend.
- In contrast, eligibility refusals will be made where someone does not meet the criteria for the scheme. For instance, they are not an EU, EEA or Swiss citizen or the family member of one or they are not resident in the UK.
- Evidence of residence can be as little as a utility bill, bank statements, or a letter from a GP or charity.
- The eligibility and suitability criteria can be found in full within the EU Settlement Scheme caseworker guidance.
Are you introducing physical proof of status?
- There is no change to our digital approach.
- Physical documents can get lost, stolen, damaged and tampered with.
- The EU Settlement Scheme provides people with a secure, digital status which future-proofs their rights.
- It has always been the case that people could print a copy of their confirmation letter, but this can’t be used as evidence of status.
Why does pre-settled status exist?
- Settled and pre-settled status reflect the residence rights that EU citizens currently have under EU free movement rules.
- Under these EU rules, you generally need to reside in a country for 5+ years before acquiring permanent residence there.
- Those here for less than 5 years can get pre-settled status, which protects their rights to live, work, receive benefits and access services. They can apply for settled status when they get to 5 years.
- But the UK Government has been more generous with the EU Settlement Scheme because all EU citizens resident here before the UK leaves the EU can apply – not just those who currently qualify under EU free movement rules.
Why have some EU citizens been granted pre-settled status?
- EU citizens and their families have until 30 June 2021 to apply.
- Nobody has been granted pre-settled status without first being offered the opportunity to submit evidence that they qualify for settled status.
- Both pre-settled status and settled status mean people can work, study, receive healthcare and access benefits and services as they do now.
- Once EU citizens and their families have five years residence, they can apply for settled status, which gives them leave on an indefinite basis.
- To be eligible for settled status a person usually needs to have been continuously resident in the UK for five years in a row for at least six months in any 12-month period.