EU Settlement Scheme deadline – New Brexit law to let vulnerable EU citizens apply after the cut-off date to stay in the UK
With the end of free movement for EU citizens fast approaching on the 31 December 2020 immigration solicitors and campaigners again raised concerns about the deadline to apply for pre-settled status and settled status under the EU Settlement Scheme. The good news is that the government is intending to introduce legislation to extend the deadline of the 30 June 2021 for settled status applications for those deemed ‘vulnerable’. However, Immigration solicitors are recommending that EU citizens make their settled status applications are made as soon as possible to avoid questions being raised by landlords or employers as not all of them will know the correct rules on right to rent or right to work checks after the end of free movement at 11 pm on the 31 December 2020.
UK settled status and Immigration solicitors
London based OTS Solicitors specialise in all aspects of immigration law and can answer all your Brexit related immigration queries whether you’re an EU national living in the UK or an EU citizen planning to move to the UK. For the best Brexit solutions call OTS Solicitors on 0203 959 9123 or complete our online enquiry form. Appointments are available through video conferencing, Skype or by telephone appointment.
What are the EU Settlement Scheme deadlines?
Immigration solicitors report that many EU nationals, their families and their employers don’t know about the EU Settlement Scheme deadlines. They are:
- 31 December 2020 – date by which EU nationals need to be living in the UK by to be eligible to apply for pre-settled status or settled status under the EU Settlement Scheme. If an EU citizen wants to move to live and work in the UK after the 31 December 2020 then they will be subject to UK Immigration control and require a visa as the Immigration Rules, after the end of free movement, won't distinguish between EU nationals and non-EEA nationals
- 30 June 2021 – date by which EU nationals need to apply for pre-settled status or settled status under the EU Settlement Scheme. It has been this deadline that has concerned immigration solicitors and campaigners as many EU citizens currently living and working in the UK still haven’t made an application for settled status.
There are many reasons why EU nationals haven’t applied for settled status, such as:
- They are vulnerable and don’t know about the need to do so
- They are worried about the application and paperwork
- They think they have plenty of time until June 2021
- They think that there will be some change over Brexit and free movement
- They have other worries, for example, Covid-19 or financial concerns
- They don’t appreciate the implications of not applying for pre-settled status or settled status
- They are worried about a settled status application being refused.
The planned extension of the settled status deadline
The Home Office has announced that under secondary legislation those EU nationals with what is termed ‘reasonable excuse’ won't be subject to a time limit within which they have to apply for pre-settled status or settled status provided that they were living in the UK under the principle of free movement before the 31 December 2020.
The rationale behind this decision is to stop a ‘second Windrush’ or, in other words, a generation of people who would have been entitled to live and work in the UK under free movement but for not having the necessary paperwork.
What is a reasonable excuse?
To be eligible to apply for settled status after the current deadline of the 30 June 2021 Home Office minister, Kevin Foster has said that the applicant for settled status would need to be:
- Vulnerable and
- Have a reasonable excuse for not having applied for settled status by the 30 June 2021.
If the applicant meets the above criteria then it is proposed that there will be no time limit within which to apply for settled status under the EU Settlement Scheme.
Examples of ‘vulnerable people’ were described as children in care or homeless people. However, immigration solicitorssay that there are many others who fall within the category, such as those experiencing physical or mental health issues or elderly and isolated or those subject to domestic violence.
New Home Office guidelines
Home Office minister, Kevin Foster has said that the Home Office will publish guidance on vulnerable people applying for settled status after the 30 June 2021 but that the guidance would not be an exhaustive list of who falls within the definition of vulnerable or what amounts to a ‘reasonable excuse’.
What hasn’t been made clear is what will happen if someone who isn’t vulnerable simply doesn’t apply for settled status. That’s why Immigration solicitors say its best that you apply for pre-settled status or settled status as soon as possible and by no later than the June 2021 deadline.
Same day settled status applications
Settled status solicitors are being told that one major deterrent from applying for settled status is the hassle involved in making an application. That is why OTS Solicitors have a specialist Brexit team offering same day settled status applications to make the process of applying for pre-settled status or settled status as simple and straight forward for you as possible.
How can OTS Solicitors help?
For information on our Brexit and immigration services call the Brexit team hotline on 0203 959 9123 or use our contact form. Appointments are available through video conferencing, Skype or by telephone appointment.
About OTS Solicitors
OTS Solicitors specialise in immigration law and are recommended in the two leading law directories, The Legal 500 and Chambers Guide to the Legal Profession. If you require expert immigration law advice that you can trust, call OTS Solicitors on 0203 959 9123 or contact us here.