The UK government unveils details of the “settled status” scheme for EU Citizens who wish to remain in the post-Brexit UK
Currently, there are around 3.2 – 3.8 million EU citizens who live and work in the UK. As the UK is about to leave EU, it has developed a special scheme to provide a provisional stay for these EU citizens. Under the new scheme, EU citizens living in the UK for five or more years before 2020 can apply for the “settled status” and avail further benefits. Those arriving in the UK by the end of 2019 or those who do not meet the requirement of five-year stay can still apply for “pre-settled status” and can swap it for a full settled visa once they’ve completed their five-year stay in the UK.
Citizens who already have indefinite leave to remain in the UK can apply for the “settled status” for free. Also under the “lifetime right” already available, civil partners, spouse, dependents or children living overseas will be able to join those with settled status. Retired individuals, students, carers, and stay-at-home parents are also eligible to apply for settled status without having to provide proof of income. The rules differ slightly for Irish citizens who do have to apply under this scheme to stay; unless they have a non-EU spouse who wish to remain in the UK, in which case they will need to provide proof of residency.
This settlement scheme is one of the more large-scale processes being undertaken in the UK as part of Brexit and every effort is being made to leave no margin for error. For the same, the government is putting forth an expeditious digital platform for coherent and quick processing of applications. Sajid Javid, Home Secretary of the UK stated that he wanted to make this process as easy as possible with a default option of acceptance rather than rejection.
Application charges will be £65 per adult and £32.5 for children. Users must provide proof of identity, residence, and income while submitting the form. They can submit documents such as IDs and photos from Android devices by scanning or taking selfies. The department will auto-check the applications with HMRC, DMP and other UK databases to validate the information. Due to some technical issues, Apple users cannot currently use their devices to submit the application.
Applicants with any previous convictions or illegal activities are at a risk of rejection. The Home Office has also assured that applicants will receive their ID numbers in a matter of days of the application being accepted. The ID number can use it for public services like NHS, employment, and other government programs. In case of rejection, applicants can apply any number of times before the scheme ends.
The Home Office has promised to offer “direct human help/service” for anyone in need of help. They are establishing service centres with over 1500 staff to provide any information or support in regards to the application process. People without any access to smartphone or computers can apply from these authorized centres.
The Home Office will put the scheme into action this late summer and with a full operation by March next year. In the beginning, they will run a beta phase to test the scheme’s efficiency. They estimate that they can process up to 4,500 applications in a day and finish the program by June 2021.