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https://homeofficemedia.blog.gov.uk/2020/07/02/media-factsheet-eu-settlement-scheme/

Media factsheet: EU Settlement Scheme

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The EU Settlement Scheme is a free scheme which enables EU, other EEA and Swiss citizens resident in the UK by the end of the transition period on 31 December 2020, and their family members, to obtain the status they require in order to live and work in the UK after 30 June 2021.

The scheme opened to the public on 30 March 2019 and the deadline for the scheme for those resident in the UK by the end of the transition period was 30 June 2021. However, there is scope to make a late application based on reasonable grounds for missing the deadline.

Key statistics

  • According to the latest published statistics up to the end of July 2021, there have been more than six million applications and more than 5.1 million grants of status.
  • Further statistics on the number of applications received after 30 June 2021 can be found here. 
  • More than 1.5 million callers have been helped by the Settlement Resolution Centre agents and the Centre have responded to over 500,000 on-line contact requests
  • More than 310,000 individuals have been supported to apply to the scheme by our network of 72 grant funded organisations across the UK, and this includes victims of human trafficking or domestic abuse.
  • Between 1 October 2019 and 31 March 2021, there were over 3.9 million view and prove profile views by individuals, and over 330,000 checker views.

People who have applied before the deadline

What is the status of those who have applied by the deadline but not received a decision?

  • If someone has applied to the EU Settlement Scheme by the 30 June deadline, but has not had a decision yet, their rights are protected until their application is decided. That is the law.
  • It usually takes around five working days for complete applications to be processed if no further information is required. However, even if it takes longer a person’s rights are protected until the outcome of the application, including any appeal against refusal, if the application was made before the deadline.
  • EU Settlement Scheme: current estimated processing times for applications - GOV.UK (www.gov.uk)
  • The Home Office confirmed that any application made online by 9am on July 2021 will be treated as in-time. In recognition of the time it can take for post to be delivered, the Home Office considered any paper application it received before Thursday 8 July as in-time.  

 How can someone evidence that they have an application pending? 

  • People who submitted an EUSS application by 30 June receive a Certificate of Application which they can use to prove their rights pending the outcome of their application. The Home Office employer and landlord checking services can also confirm where an application was made by this date.  If an individual has been notified that they have a digital certificate of application, they are able to use the View and Prove service to prove their rights https://www.gov.uk/view-prove-immigration-status.

How do you know landlords and employers won’t discriminate against people with pending applications?

  • Employers and landlords who discriminate against those with a pending in-time application are breaking the law and we would urge them to familiarise themselves with published guidance and the statutory codes of practice.
  • The Home Office has very clearly communicated with landlords and employers since the launch of the scheme. We published an employer toolkit detailing the changes, wrote to landlords and their representative groups and led targeted advertising campaigns in the lead-up to the UK’s exit from the EU, to ensure everyone was aware of how the changes would impact them.
  • Further guidance for employers on Right to Work and landlords on Right to Rent can be found on GOV.UK. Employers and Landlords can also contact the Home Office checking services for guidance on right to work and rent checks.

How has the number of pending applications got so big? 

  • The success of the EU Settlement Scheme means there has been a higher volume of applications than any estimate. We have also seen significant increases in the number of people applying ahead of the deadline with more than 400,000 applying in June 2021 alone.
  • If someone has applied to the EU Settlement Scheme by the 30 June deadline, but has not had a decision yet, their rights are protected until their application is decided. That is the law.
  • Of the number of applications outstanding for more than 12 months, the great majority - around 5,000  are being held at the suitability stage – usually because they have pending prosecutions or have been referred for consideration of deportation action.
  • We continue to review the resource providing support to customers and will bring further Settlement Resolution Centre agents and caseworkers on-line during July to maintain our high level of customer service.

How will people who have status through the EUSS be able to evidence this in the future? 

  • From 1 July 2021, EU, EEA and Swiss citizens granted status under the EU Settlement Scheme will need to evidence their rights in the UK with their digital immigration status (eVisa).
  • A person who has applied to the EU Settlement Scheme will have created a UK Visas and Immigration (UKVI) account. A person can use their UKVI account credentials to log into the online View and Prove service.
  • If an individual has been notified that they have a digital certificate of application, they are able to use the View and Prove service to prove their rights https://www.gov.uk/view-prove-immigration-status.
  • It is important that a person’s personal details on their UKVI account are kept up to date. Details can be updated through the ‘update your UK Visas and Immigration account details’ service or by using the ‘update details’ function in the View and Prove service.
  • Individuals granted an eVisa under the points-based immigration system, including Hong Kong BN(O)s, also have a digital only status. This will be rolled out to more visa types over the next three years.

 How does somebody with status under the EUSS enter the UK if they do not have physical documentation to show they have applied?

  • Individuals who have been granted digital status under the EUSS are not required to provide evidence of this to cross the border. Provided that the individual travels using a document that they either used in applying to the EUSS or have added to their UKVI account, their status will be automatically recognised at the border.
  • Where an individual travels using a document that is not known to the Home Office, they may be asked further questions or further manual systems checks may be conducted at the desk in order to verify their status.
  • The same process will also apply for anybody who has applied in time to the EUSS but has not yet had their application finally determined.

Those eligible who have not applied

What will happen to those who are eligible, who have not applied?

  • From 1 July 2021, a person eligible for the EU Settlement Scheme will be able to make a late application where there are reasonable grounds for missing the 30 June 2021 deadline.
  • We have published non-exhaustive guidance on reasonable grounds for making a late EUSS application, and will take a pragmatic and flexible approach to considering these.
  • Further details on how a late application can be made are available on Gov.UK
  • The Government has announced that EEA citizens and their family members who apply late to the EU Settlement Scheme will have rights protected while their application is determined (and any appeal). 

 Will somebody who has not applied before the deadline be removed from the UK?

  • Under our flexible and pragmatic approach to late applications, from 1 July 2021, where Immigration Enforcement encounter a person without status under the EU Settlement Scheme who appears to be eligible for it, they will be provided with a written notice giving them an opportunity to apply to the Scheme, normally within 28 days.
  • The 28-day notice is not a notice that the individual is liable to be removed from the UK.
  • We will give a person every chance to apply to the EUSS. In line with the general approach under the EU Settlement Scheme, we will continue to look to grant status, rather than look for reasons to refuse.
  • The Government has announced that EEA citizens and their family members who apply late to the EU Settlement Scheme will have rights protected while their application is determined (and any appeal). 

 Will somebody who has not applied immediately lose access to their benefits?

  • Those currently receiving benefits will not see their payments stop automatically from 1 July. However, it is important that anyone eligible who hasn’t applied to the EUSS does so quickly to ensure that benefit payments don’t stop. A process is in place to prioritise resolution for highly vulnerable applicants.
  • We are working with the Department for Work and Pensions and HM Revenue and Customs to identify existing benefit claimants who have yet to apply for status under the EUSS.  In May, letters were sent out to individuals giving them step by step, practical advice on how to apply, which helped signpost thousands of people to the EU Settlement Scheme. In August, further letters will be sent to EU, EEA, and Swiss citizens who may still need to apply to the scheme to let them know how to make a late application. 
  • Following this second round of letters, the Home Office will notify DWP and HMRC of those they have contacted in this mailout who have still not applied, and they will make case-by-case decisions on continued access to benefits. 
  • Safeguards will help protect against removal of benefits for potentially vulnerable individuals who may ultimately be eligible for status.

Can people who have not applied to the EUSS and do not hold any other form of immigration status work in the UK?

  • If an individual has not applied to the EU Settlement Scheme by 30 June 2021 or does not hold any other form of leave, they will be in the UK without lawful status.  Therefore, they will not be able to pass a right to work check from that date.
  • Where an individual has reasonable grounds for missing the EUSS application deadline, they be given a further opportunity to apply.
  • We have published further guidance for employers which sets out what they should do if they identify someone in their workforce who has not applied by the deadline.  We have designed a process to ensure that employers do not have to cease the employment of an individual without status who has been working for them since before the end of the grace period on 30 June 2021.
  • Retrospective Right to Work checks are not required for EEA citizens who used their passport or national identity card to demonstrate their right to work before 1 July 2021.

Will somebody who has not applied by 30 June or applies late lose guaranteed access to healthcare and NHS services?

  • The Department of Health and Social Care has set out that where a late application to the EUSS has been made (evidenced by a Certificate of Application), the individual will be non-chargeable for NHS healthcare from the date of that application until its final outcome.
  • Urgent and necessary treatment is never withheld regardless of immigration status.

Support

What support is available for those who need to make a late application? 

  • There is a wide range of support available online, over the phone and in person to help people apply to the EU Settlement Scheme.
  • The EU Settlement Scheme uses the latest technology, including the EU Exit: ID Document Check app which allows people to apply from the comfort of their own home in as little as 15 minutes using the app and online form.
  • There are more than 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.
  • The Home Office has also made available up to £22 million in funding for a network of now 72 organisations across the UK which includes charities, local authorities and local government associations. They are working to help vulnerable and harder to reach groups apply to the scheme.
  • 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 assisted digital locations across the UK where people can be supported through their application.

What support is available for people with a digital-only status to demonstrate that?

  • The Resolution Centre provides telephone and email support to all account holders using the online immigration status services. This includes:
    • supporting users through the online journey;
    • helping them to access or recover their account;
    • helping them to update their personal details; and
    • sharing status on behalf of account holders if they are unable to do so themselves.
  • The Resolution Centre will also be able to assist users who are experiencing technical issues with their online immigration status, and where necessary, enable account holders’ status to be verified through alternative means.  

What will happen to EU citizens who moved abroad during the pandemic and disrupted their continuity of residence?

  • Continuity of residence will not be broken by periods of absence that do not total more than 6 months in any 12-month period, or by a period not exceeding 12 months where the absence was for an important reason, including because of COVID-19.
  • We have published guidance on the flexibility available under the EUSS for those whose UK residence has been affected by the pandemic:  Coronavirus (COVID-19): EU Settlement Scheme - guidance for applicants - GOV.UK (www.gov.uk)

Further Questions

 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.

Why would people be refused?

  • 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, where their conduct before the end of the transition period is concerned.
  • 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 have not provided evidence that they were resident in the UK by the end of the transition period.
  • Evidence of residence can be as little as a utility bill, bank statements, or a letter from a GP or charity.
  • The vast majority of refusals are for eligibility rather than suitability.
  • Refusals are always a last resort as caseworkers are trained to look for reasons to grant status.
  • 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.
  • Anyone who applied after 11pm on 31 January 2020 will also have a right of appeal.
  • For those who applied before 30 June 2021, and for late applicants and joining family members, their rights are protected pending the outcome of their application, including any appeal. 
  • Published statistics show the latest refusals.

What is pre-settled status and settled status?

  • Settled and pre-settled status reflect the residence rights that EU citizens had under EU free movement rules.
  • Under these EU rules, you generally needed to reside in a country for 5+ years before acquiring permanent residence there.
  • Those living in the UK for less than 5 years are given 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 in the UK before the end of the transition period can apply – not just those who qualified under EU free movement rules.
  • Both pre-settled status and settled status mean people can work, study, receive healthcare and access benefits and services as they could before we left the EU.
  • As soon as EU citizens and their family members have five years’ continuous 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. But they can be absent from the UK for a single period of up to 12 months for an important reason.

*Factsheet updated on 12/8/2021

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