Home Office figures reveal that 600,000 EU citizens have applied for settled status under the EU Settlement Scheme. You would think that with over 600,000 applicants for Settled Status under the EU Settlement Scheme that the top London immigration solicitors would no longer be receiving enquiries about EU citizens applying for permanent residence. However, with the continued uncertainty over Brexit, EU citizens are continuing to ask the question whether it is preferable to apply for Settled Status or permanent residence.
At present EU citizens, have the following options:
• Apply for Settled Status under the EU Settlement Scheme under Appendix EU to the UK Immigration Rules;
• Apply for permanent residence under the Immigration (European Economic Area) Regulations 2016. These regulations implement the EU Free Movement Directive;
• Apply for both;
• Do nothing and wait.
The best London immigration solicitors
say that when it comes to applying for Settled Status or permanent residence
or waiting the question of whether one route to settlement in the UK is better for an EU citizen and the timing of the application is all down to individual circumstances. For some, it will be in the EU citizen’s interests to apply for Settled Status under the EU Settlement Scheme whereas for other EU citizens applying for a permanent residence
card is the better route.
How can OTS Solicitors help?
London based OTS Solicitors advise individuals and businesses on all aspects of personal and business immigration
law. As experts in Immigration
law, OTS Solicitors can guide you through the application process to apply for Settled Status or permanent residence
and can answer any Immigration
questions you may have in a time of uncertainty and confusion over your options and deadlines.
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.
The Settled Status scheme
With 600,000 applications made for Settled Status under the EU Settlement Scheme, you would think that there would be no more changes to the scheme. However, the top London immigration solicitors
say that David Bolt, the independent chief inspector of Borders and Immigration
(ICIBI) in the UK, has said that further changes should be made to the EU Settlement Scheme.
David Bolt has made seven recommendations to improve the EU Settlement Scheme, with his suggested changes to the scheme focussing on additional help for vulnerable applicants and for those who want to challenge a decision by the Home Office. Charities had also raised concerns about older people, those without smartphones and the category of EU citizen children who are looked after in local authority care. These vulnerable applicants may either not understand the need to make an application or not be able to use the Settled Status technology to make the application. The Home Office has said it accepts all seven recommendations made by David Bolt and is acting on them.
Applying for Settled Status
Applicants for Settled Status under the EU Settlement Scheme may recall reading that it was the opinion of the former home secretary, Amber Rudd, that applying for Settled Status was as easy “as setting up an online account at LK Bennett”. Some may question what that comment might say about how in touch the former home secretary is with Londoners and EU citizens residing in the UK but nonetheless many people have applied for Settled Status.
The best London immigration solicitors
say that some people have felt pressure to take action and apply for Settled Status. However, you have time to take legal advice and to decide if the preferred option is applying for permanent residence
or Settled Status. That is because EU citizens who want to stay in the UK must now apply for Settled Status by:
• June 2021 in the event of a Brexit
• December 2020 in the event of no Brexit
Although the Home Office has reported on how easy it is to use technology to apply for Settled Status under the EU Settlement Scheme, some people have reported issues with:
• A small number of Settled Status applicants not being able to prove their identity online;
• The grant of “pre-settled status” to Settled Status applicants in place of Settled Status. Pre-settled status is given to EU nationals who have been living in the UK for less than five years. Settled Status is only granted if an EU citizen can prove that they have lived in the UK for five years or more at the date of their application.
The advantages of applying for Settled Status
The advantages of a Settled Status application as opposed to applying for permanent residence
are based on individual circumstances.
For some individuals Settled Status under the EU Settlement Scheme is better than applying for permanent residence
• An application for Settled Status requires five years continuous lawful residence in the UK and the passing of criminal checks. The five years continuous lawful residence can often be confirmed by the Home Office making enquiries with HMRC to check their tax records;
• When applying for Settled Status there is no need to have been a “qualified person” during the five-year period of continuous lawful residence. This means that if there are periods in the five years where you did not exercise Treaty rights or there other complexities over gaps in your residence it may be easier to apply for Settled Status rather than permanent residence;
• If you are an EU citizen who has studied in the UK then if you apply for Settled Status there is no need to prove or to have had Comprehensive Sickness Insurance;
• If you had permanent residence but lost it through absences from the UK for over two years then it may be easier to apply for Settled Status than try to reapply for permanent residence;
• permanent residence status will not be valid after 31 December 2020 (or after the 30 June 2021 if there is an implementation period). This is not an issue for an applicant for permanent residence if they intend to apply for British Citizenship;
• Applying for Settled Status under the EU Settlement Scheme is quicker than applying for permanent residence.
What are the advantages of applying for permanent residence?
For some individuals the permanent residence
process is better than applying for Settled Status if you want to apply for British Citizenship
. This is because if you have lived in the UK in accordance with the EEA
regulations for a period of over five years, and want to apply for British Citizenship
without further delay, then the route to British Citizenship
is potentially twelve months quicker if you apply for permanent residence
. If you apply for Settled Status, you have to wait twelve months before you can apply to become naturalised as a British citizen.
If you have permanent residence
and convert to Settled Status then you can spend up to five years outside the UK without losing your Settled Status under the EU Settlement Scheme rules.
Challenging Home Office decisions on Settled Status
Currently, if your application for Settled Status is refused then you do not have a right of appeal against the Home Office decision. You can challenge the refusal of Settled Status by applying for an Administrative Review. The application for Administrative Review must be made within twenty-eight days of the decision to refuse the Settled Status application.
However, you may consider whether applying for Settled Status is to your advantage as Settled Status allows you to be absent from the UK for periods of up to five years without losing Settled Status. If you have Indefinite Leave to Remain
then you lose your status if you leave the UK for more than two years.
Accordingly, although Amber Rudd thinks that applying for Settled Status is as easy as setting up an on-line shopping account, you may require legal advice on your options of applying for permanent residence
or Settled Status and the timing of your application.
How can OTS Solicitors help?
When it comes to deciding whether to apply for Settled Status under the EU Settlement Scheme or applying for permanent residence
, and the timing of your application, the options can be as confusing as the Brexit
OTS Solicitors can help you look at your options, and if appropriate, help you apply for Settled Status or permanent residence
OTS Solicitors are specialist in Immigration
law matters whose expertise has been recognised by the leading law directory, The Legal 500. OTS Solicitors have Law Society accredited solicitors status as trusted specialists in Immigration
For more information and advice on applying for Settled Status under the Settlement Scheme or Permanent Residence 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.