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BREAKING: New Permanent Residence Online Application System Trialed

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By Oshin Shahiean and Elizabeth De Freitas of OTS Solicitors

To cope with the influx of permanent residence applications from EU nationals, the Home Office is trialling a new online application system to process the thousands of requests for permanent residence Cards.

The new system is being tested for two weeks by a group of about 20 corporate clients, including the accountancy firms Deloitte and PricewaterhouseCoopers, before a public launch by the Home Office later this year.

It will not only serve to meet the demands of thousands of EU nationals who want to solidify their UK residency status in the wake of Brexit, but as a useful audit of the true number of Europeans living in the UK as ministers embark on negotiations with Brussels a source told the Financial Times.

A special cabinet meeting on Brexit convened on Wednesday by Theresa May agreed to seek a “unique” model for the UK in negotiations on a new relationship with the EU, with “controls on the numbers of people who come to Britain from Europe”, the Prime Minister’s spokeswoman said. Ministers also sought “a positive outcome for those who wish to trade goods and services”.

At present, those applying for a permanent residence Card must cope with an 85-page long application form. The new online system will replace this. Officials have told the companies involved in the trial that internet clients can expect a system which is “faster, easier and more intuitive” than the current service.

A government spokesman said: “As part of the on-going Home Office programme to digitise applications, we have launched a number of online options.

“We are currently testing an online service which simplifies the process by allowing some EEA [European Economic Area] nationals to submit electronic applications.”

A study released earlier this month by the University of Oxford’s Migration Observatory said that if all European citizens applied for residency it would take 140 years to process the visa forms. Jurga McCluskey, head of Immigration at Deloitte, told The Times that the trial demonstrated that the Home Office was “thinking ahead” to its negotiating positions when Article 50 is triggered to start Brexit negotiations.

To find out more about the new online application system please contact one of our Immigration lawyers.

OTS Solicitors is regarded as one of the best Immigration law firms in the UK. If you need advice on permanent residence Cards or British Citizenship, please phone our office on 0203 959 9123 to talk to one of our dedicated Immigration solicitors.

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