A rush of
EU Settlement
applications

The EU Settlement Scheme has seen a rush of applications ahead of the ongoing threat of a ‘no-deal’ Brexit on 31 October 2019.

According to the latest Home Office data, over 500,000 new applications were made to the scheme in September.  Overall, the number of EU citizens seeking to secure their immigration status has now risen to over two million.

It takes, on average, five working days for applications to be considered and processed by the Home Office. To date, 43% of applicants have been allocated pre-settled status and 57% given settled status under the scheme.

31 December 2020 Deadline

Even if the UK crashes out of the EU later this month, resident EU citizens and their family members will have until 31 December 2020 to apply under the EU Settlement Scheme. Until then, they can continue to take up employment and rent property as now by showing their passport or national identity card. Their right to claim benefits and access services in the UK will also remain unchanged.

Conversely, different ‘no deal’ immigration arrangements will apply to those EU citizens (and their family members) seeking to move and reside in the UK after 23:00 hours on 31 October 2019. In summary, EU citizens moving to the UK after a ‘no deal’ Brexit will be able to apply for a 36 month temporary immigration status – European Temporary Leave to Remain (Euro TLR).

Uncertainty Reigns

With a significant number of EU nationals still uncertain about the steps they need to follow, the government has a job to do. One million plus EU residents still need to apply under the scheme before the deadline is reached. With it now possible to apply to the EU Settlement Scheme using newer iPhone models, an increase in application submissions is more likely.

The government continues to play down the December 2020 cut-off date by stressing how all EU nationals, with reasonable grounds for missing the deadline, will be given further opportunity to apply. However, such rhetoric is unlikely to last forever.

Unless the government succeeds in securing 100% participation in the EU Settlement Scheme, many hundreds, if not thousands, of European nationals will find themselves without an authorised basis of stay in the UK. Such a daunting proposition could easily become a reality, regardless of how long an EU national may have resided in the UK.

Smith Stone Walters

We are here to help. Aside from our video guide, we have assisted hundreds of EU citizens in applying under the EU Settlement Scheme. If you, or your EU staff, need our assistance contact one of our dedicated advisers today.

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