Do I need to apply for settled status in the UK?
By Oshin Shahiean, managing partner at OTS Solicitors
It sometimes feels as if we are being bombarded by news on Brexit with hourly updates on the prospects of there being a deal or no-deal exit from the EU.
For EU citizens living and working in the UK it is an unsettled time. Perhaps as worrying as for UK citizens concerned about the impact of Brexit on the UK economy, their jobs and house prices.
The best London immigration solicitors are recommending that EU citizens apply for settled status in the UK.
The government has said that for EU citizens and family members of EU citizens there will be no change to current rights under EU law until the end of the transition period on the 31 December 2020.
As there is continued uncertainty over whether a Brexit deal will be signed off top London immigration solicitors are recommending that EU citizens and their families get Immigration advice on applying for settled status.
How can OTS Solicitors help?
At OTS Solicitors, we specialise in Immigration law. The legal directory, Legal 500, recognises our expertise.
We advise individuals and businesses on all aspects of personal and business immigration law. As experts in Immigration law, we can guide you through the application process to apply for settled status and answer any Immigration questions you may have.
Please call us on 0203 959 9123 to arrange an appointment to speak to one of our experienced London immigration solicitors who will be happy to help you look at your options.
When do I need to apply for settled status in the UK?
Although you do not need to apply immediately for settled status, for some EU citizens, it is sensible to make the application now.
At present, the government has said that, with an exit based on the Withdrawal Bill, there will be:
• No change to EU citizens’ current rights under EU law until the end of the transition period on the 31 December 2020; and
• The deadline for applications to the settlement scheme for those living in the UK at the 31 December 2020 will be the 30 June 2021.
• Family members joining an EU citizen in the UK after the 31 December 2020 will have three months from the date of their arrival to make an application for settled status;
• Family members joining an EU citizen in the UK before the 1 April 2021 will have until the 30 June 2021 to make an application for settled status.
When an EU citizen decides to apply for settled status may depend on his personal circumstances as well as those of his or her family.
Applying for settled status under the pilot scheme
If you apply for settled status now the application will be made under the pilot scheme. That is because the EU Settlement Scheme is being run as a pilot scheme until the UK leaves the EU, currently planned on the 29 March 2019.
From the 30 March 2019, top London immigration solicitors say it is planned to open the Settlement Scheme to all eligible EU citizens and family members of EU citizens.
Can I apply for settled status?
The Settlement Scheme allows EU citizens who live in the UK, and their families, to apply for Immigration status so that they can continue to live and work in the UK after the UK has exited the EU and completed the transitional exit period, currently set to end on the on 31 December 2020.
Under the new scheme you will be eligible to apply for ‘settled status’ if:
• You are an EU citizen or family member of an EU citizen; and
• Before the end of the transitional exit period on the 31 December 2020, you were continuously resident in the UK for five years.
To qualify as “continuously resident” in the UK, you must have been living in the UK for at least six months in any twelve-month period that forms part of your five-year residence claim.
The best London immigration solicitors advise that the rules on absence from the UK can appear complicated, but in essence:
• There is no restriction on the number of times you can be absent from the UK in any of the five years, provided that the total period of absence from the UK does not exceed six months in any one year; and
• There are some exceptions to the absence rule. One absence of more than six months (provided it does not exceed a year) is allowed if the absence is for a good reason, for example, a bereavement or pregnancy.
Is settled status based solely on 5 years residence in the UK?
In addition to the residence requirement, the best London immigration solicitors advise that the Home Office will carry out criminal checks if an applicant is over eighteen.
An application for settled status may be refused if the applicant has convictions for criminal offences in the UK or overseas. If you are considering applying for settled status and you have a criminal record you should take legal advice.
Settled status rights
If you are granted settled status, you will have:
• The right to live and work in the UK free from Immigration control; and
• You will continue to have the same legal entitlements to study in the UK and receive healthcare and benefits in the UK as you currently do; and
• Close family members living overseas will be able to enter the UK to live with you in the future provided that your relationship with them began before the end of the transitional period, the 31 December 2020, and you are still in the relationship when they apply to join you.
How can OTS Solicitors help?
OTS Solicitors have Law Society accredited solicitors status as trusted specialists in Immigration law.
For more information and advice on applying for settled status under the Settlement Scheme or any other aspect of personal or business immigration law please call us on 0203 959 9123 to arrange an appointment to speak to one of our experienced London immigration solicitors who will be happy to help.