Closure of Settled Status Scheme – is it too late to apply?
The EU Settlement Scheme closed on the 30 June 2021. In this article our immigration solicitors look at your options if you are an EU national or from an EEA country or you are a Swiss citizen who entered the UK before the 31 December 2020 and you want to secure settled status or pre-settled status.
UK Online and London Based Immigration Solicitors
The EU Settlement Scheme – have you missed the deadline?
The EU Settlement Scheme has finally closed to new applicants. If you didn’t realise that you or a family member need to apply for settled status, or if you knew but didn’t prioritise your application, there may still be options for you to secure settled status.
Likewise, if you just managed to get your settled status application in before the deadline of midnight on the 30 June 2021, but you are worried about your application, concerned about a Home Office request for more information or supporting documents or you have had your application refused, then our settled status experts at OTS Solicitors are here to help on 0203 959 9123.
If you have missed the settled status deadline or you have received a request for more information or a refusal letter from the Home Office the tempting thing is to ignore the problem, thinking that the Home Office won't be interested in you or your family. After all, we have all read in the newspapers that the government can't keep on top of asylum claimants, so you may think that you can get away without sorting out your settled status.
Immigration solicitors warn that if you aren’t a British citizen or if you don’t have indefinite leave to remain in the UK then you need immigration status. Without immigration status it isn’t just the Home Office that could be the cause of your problems. That is because if you can't prove your immigration status you will lose:
- Your right to work in the UK – every UK employer has to conduct right to work checks on all employees. If the employer fails to carry out the checks they are in breach of illegal working legislation and face heavy penalties. If you can't prove your immigration status by showing a prospective employer that you are free from immigration control or have settled status or a visa that entitles you to work in the UK, you risk not being able to get a job with a reputable employer.
- Your right to rent in the UK – every UK landlord has to conduct right to rent checks on prospective tenants. Failure to do so means fines and penalties so most landlords are insistent that a right to rent check is carried out before you can sign up to a tenancy agreement.
- Your right to return to the UK – if you leave the UK to go on holiday or for family or business purposes you may not be allowed to re-enter the UK. This is because although EU visitors don’t need a visitor visa to come to the UK, a Home Office official can refuse entry if the purpose of your coming to the UK isn’t for a visit of six months or less but to resume your life in the UK. You may therefore not be able to come back to the UK unless you successfully apply for a business visa, work visa , family visa or student visa. You may not meet the eligibility criteria for a visa ,such as the skilled worker visa , if your employer doesn’t have a Home Office issued sponsor licence or if your salary is below the minimum salary threshold for a skilled worker visa.
There are other penalties associated with not sorting out your settled status, such as not being able to open a bank account or access NHS services but usually the right to live and work in the UK are the major issues that affect those who don’t have immigration status in the UK.
The EU Settlement Scheme options if you missed the 30 June 2021 deadline
The EU Settlement Scheme received over 5.6 million settled status applications before its official closure on the 30 June 2021. This was nearly double the number of applications that the government predicted. Some would say that this means the government funded TV adverts worked whilst others, including immigration solicitors, say that the TV ads didn’t reach the ‘hard to reach places’ so there is a significant number of EU nationals, who were living and working in the UK before the 31 December 2020, who have missed the settled status application deadline.
If you missed the deadline then this won't just affect you; it could also affect your family and your employer. For example, although employers don’t need to carry out retrospective right to work checks on EU workers, from the 1 July 2021, EU nationals applying for a new job in the UK will no longer be able to use their passport or National Identity Card to prove their right to work in the UK. Instead, UK employers will need to use the Home Office online system to check the immigration status of prospective EU employees. If you aren’t on the system, as you didn’t apply for settled status or pre-settled status, then this will scupper your employment prospects.
For those who missed the settled status deadline the government has said that the Home Office will issue twenty-eight-day notices to advise you to urgently apply for settled status by making a late application. The application has to be submitted within twenty-eight days of the issue of the notice. You can't assume that you can do nothing if you don’t get a warning letter from the enforcement team at the Home Office.
The government has said that despite the 30 June 2021 settled status deadline the scheme will be kept open for late applications provided there is a reasonable excuse for not making an application before the 30 June 2021. As time passes it will get harder to justify the delay or to come up with a reasonable excuse so if you or a friend or family member still hasn’t applied for settled status or pre-settled status now is the time to do so.
UK Online and London Based Immigration Solicitors
Our expert London based immigration solicitors can answer your EU Settlement Scheme questions and look at your immigration options. For the best advice on settled status call OTS Solicitors on 0203 959 9123 or complete our online enquiry form. Appointments are available through video conference or by telephone.