Status of EU Citizens in the UK
The Government have now delivered that commitment and reached an agreement with the European Commission on citizens’ rights. The agreement will provide the millions of EU citizens and their family members living in the UK certainty about their future and most importantly, allow them to stay.
*this article will be updated by www.amlawsolicitors.co.uk as soon as, or near to the release of an update from gov.uk
There is no need for EU citizens living in the UK to do anything now, including applying for a permanent residence document. There will be no change to the status of EU citizens living in the UK while the UK remains in the EU. If you would like to find out the latest information you can sign up for email updates.
Note 1: The Government also expect that the offer will be extended to resident nationals of Norway, Iceland, Lichtenstein and Switzerland. As the rights of British and Irish citizens in each other’s countries are rooted in the Ireland Act 1949, Irish nationals won’t need to apply for the new status.
More information is available on what UK nationals travelling and living in Europe need to know.
Agreement on rights for EU citizens and their families
The agreement the Government have reached for EU citizens and their family members is:
People who arrive by 29 March 2019 and have been continuously and lawfully living here for 5 years will be able to apply to stay indefinitely by getting ‘settled status’. That means these citizens will be free to live here, have access to public funds and services and go on to apply for British citizenship.
People who arrive by 29 March 2019, but won’t have been here lawfully for 5 years when the UK leave the EU, will be able to apply to stay until they have reached the 5-year threshold. They can then also apply for settled status.
Family members who are living with, or join, EU citizens in the UK by 29 March 2019 will also be able to apply for settled status after 5 years in the UK.
Close family members (spouses, civil partners and unmarried partners, dependent children and grandchildren, and dependent parents and grandparents) will be able to join EU citizens after exit under these rules, where the relationship existed on 29 March 2019 and continues to exist when they wish to come to the UK.
EU citizens with settled status and temporary permission to stay will continue to have the same access as they currently do to healthcare, pensions and other benefits.
More information is available in the joint report about the agreement reached between the UK and the EU on citizens’ rights.
Case studies giving examples of how individual EU citizens’ residence status in the UK will be affected by the UK’s exit from the EU are available.
Assessment of settled status applications
The Government have agreed with the EU that the conditions for EU citizens and their family members to get settled status in the UK will be the same as, or more generous than, those set out in the existing Free Movement Directive.
In most cases this means you will need 5 years of continuous and lawful residence in the UK as a worker, self-employed person, student, self-sufficient person, or family member of an EU citizen.
The Government will not check that you hold comprehensive sickness insurance regardless of what activity you have been undertaking in the UK (see note 2). You will not have to account for every trip that you have taken in and out of the UK.
EU citizens and their family members who are lawfully resident in the UK at the relevant time and make a valid application will be granted status by the UK authorities, unless one of the grounds for refusal permitted by the withdrawal agreement applies. These grounds will be that the applicant was not resident by 29 March 2019 or because they did not meet the conditions as prescribed in the withdrawal agreement, or because they are refused on criminality or security grounds. The withdrawal agreement will become a part of UK law and the Home Office will have no discretion to refuse an application for any other reason.
Note 2: In some circumstances, comprehensive sickness insurance is still required for the purposes of accessing the healthcare system in the UK, but will no longer be considered as a requirement for acquiring settled status.
Applying for settled status
The Government will be asking EU citizens and family members to make an application to the Home Office to get your new settled status.
The Government will make the process as streamlined, quick and user-friendly as possible.
The Government will avoid any unnecessary administrative burdens and plan to develop a system which draws on existing government data, for example, employment records held by HMRC, which will show if you have a work history in the UK. This will significantly reduce the amount of evidence that you will need to provide.
The Home Office will work with you to ensure that your application is not turned down because it has simple errors or is incomplete. If it appears that you have made a mistake in your application, a caseworker will contact you to help you fix the error, and advise you if you need to provide additional evidence, before a decision on your application is made.
The Government will ask you to provide an identity document and recent photograph to confirm your identity. The Government will also ask you to declare any criminal convictions.
EU citizens will not be asked to give their fingerprints. The fee for applying for settled status will be no more than the cost charged to British citizens for a UK passport.
Getting this status will prove (for example, to employers or public service providers) that you have permission to continue living and working in the UK in future.
The Government’s intention is that you will be able to apply for this status before the UK leaves the EU, and that the scheme will remain open for applications for a considerable period, likely to be 2 years, after the UK leaves the EU, so there will be adequate time for you to apply. During this period your residence rights will be protected.
If you submit an application but haven’t received a decision before the deadline, you can continue to live in the UK until the decision is made.
The Government expect the new online application system to go live in 2018.
More information on our proposed procedures for processing settled status applications is available (in English).
Permanent residence status under EU law
The settled status application process for EU citizens will be completely different from the current one for documents confirming EU permanent residence status. The Government are designing a new system from scratch, with new processes, technology, rules and support for applicants.
Permanent residence documents confirm that an individual has rights under European law. In the future, EU law will no longer apply and the migration and status of EU nationals will be subject to UK law.
The Government recognise the concerns of those who have already obtained a permanent residence document. So, if you have already gone through the process and received a permanent residence document, there will be a simple process for you to exchange this for a new settled status document free of charge. All you will need to do is provide an identity document, confirm you still reside in the UK and declare any criminal convictions. Any previous assessment of residence we have done will not be repeated.
For those who have not got a permanent residence document, under EU law you don’t need a document to confirm your residence status in the UK whilst the UK remains a member of the EU. If you’re planning to apply for an EU permanent residence document just to confirm your status, you can sign up for email alerts. These email updates will let you know about developments that might affect you, including the steps that you will need to take to confirm your status through our streamlined new system once it is up and running.
There are a small number of exceptions to this if you want to: apply for British citizenship, sponsor your partner’s visa application under the Immigration Rules, or to have a right to enter or live in the UK if you’re an extended family member of an EU citizen.
Indefinite leave to remain
Indefinite leave to remain status is not affected by the UK’s exit from the EU. So, providing you can show evidence of having previously been granted this status, you will not need to make any further applications. Your rights and privileges will not be affected by the UK’s withdrawal from the EU. However, should you wish to obtain updated documentation confirming your status under the withdrawal agreement, you can do so now by applying for a biometric residence permit. Biometric residence permits are available for EU and non-EU nationals who wish to receive updated documentation confirming they have indefinite leave to remain.
Otherwise, you can wait until the application scheme for settled status opens. There will be a simple process to exchange your old indefinite leave to remain document for a new settled status document free of charge. You will just need to provide an identity document, confirm you still reside in the UK and declare any criminal convictions.
Any previous assessment of residence we have done will not be repeated.
EU citizens who arrive in the UK after 29 March 2019
For EU citizens who arrive in the UK after the UK’s withdrawal on 29 March 2019, the proposed implementation period (announced by the Prime Minister in her Florence speech in September) will mean they can still live, work and study here after we have left the EU. How long this period lasts is subject to negotiations, however it is likely to be around 2 years.
Details of the immigration rules for EU citizens who arrive after the cut-off date and during the implementation period are yet to be agreed. We will publish more details as soon as possible, to give EU citizens and businesses enough time to plan and prepare.
UK employers and EU citizen employees
If you’re an EU citizen working in the UK or a UK business that employs an EU citizen, you don’t need to do anything now. There will be no change to the rights and status of EU citizens living in the UK before we leave the EU.
After we leave, EU citizens will need to apply for a document to prove they have permission to legally work in the UK. There will be plenty of time for them to do this (at least 2 years), and we will work closely with businesses and others to look at how they will be affected by these changes.
The Government are currently considering what the future immigration system will look like.
On 27 July, the government commissioned the independent Migration Advisory Committee (MAC) to gather evidence on patterns of EU migration and the role of migration in the wider economy, ahead of our exit from the EU. The MAC has been asked to report by September 2018.