It is vital that all EU citizens who want to keep living and working in the UK, apply under the EU Settlement Scheme.
Brexit took place on 31 January 2020. However, a transition period is in place till 31 December 2020. This transition period means that nothing will change for EU citizens in terms of free movement in the UK for now. It is, however, crucial that they note the deadlines of the EU Settlement Scheme.
Deadlines of the EU Settlement Scheme
EU citizens will still be able to come to the UK to settle until 31 December 2020. It is thus essential that EU citizens looking to live and work in the UK are physically in the UK by this date.
EU citizens will have time to register under the EU Settlement Scheme until 30 June 2021. However, Breytenbachs strongly recommend that clients rather apply sooner than later.
Why is it necessary to apply under the EU Settlement Scheme?
The EU Settlement Scheme allows an EU citizen and his/ her family members to reach the UK immigration status they will need to continue to live, work, and study in the UK.
Free movement in the UK will end for EU citizens on 31 December 2020. EU citizens who do not arrive and settle in the UK by 31 December 2020, and who do not register by 30 June 2021, will have to apply for UK visas that will allow them to live, work or study in the UK.
Persons who register under the Scheme will have access to public services such as healthcare and schools, public funds, and pensions. An EU-citizen with settled or pre-settled status under the EU Settlement Scheme will also eventually be able to apply for British citizenship, once they meet all the requirements.
EU Citizens and their Family Members
Family members who are not EU-citizens, but living in the UK with the EU citizen, also have to apply under the EU Settlement Scheme.
Close family members of the EU family member (settled in the UK), will have no time limit on when they can join the EU family member in the UK. They will, however, have to prove that the relationship still exists at the time when they join the EU family member in the UK.
The following persons are recognised as ‘close family members’ by the Home Office: civil partners, unmarried partners, dependant children, grandchildren, parents, and grandparents. The family members do not have to be EU citizens themselves. They can be of any nationality.
Pre-Settled, Settled Status and Permanent Residence
EU nationals and their family members who want to settle in the UK can apply for Settled or Pre-settled status. The status they can apply for will depend on the length of time they have been in the UK.
You will receive pre-settled status if you apply to the EU Settlement Scheme before you have obtained five years’ continuous residence in the UK. Once you reach your five years residence in the UK, you will have to apply again and will then receive settled status. The status will allow you to stay in the UK permanently.
You will be able to get Settled Status If you have been resident in the UK for five years in a row. During these five years, you must have been in the UK for at least six months in any twelve months. The Home Office will allow some exceptions, such as serious illness, study, etc.
An EU citizen that has Permanent Residence in the UK, and has been outside the UK for more than two years, but less than five years, will be able to apply for the Settled Status.
Some of our EU national clients are confused about the difference between Settled status and Permanent Residence in the UK. Although the two are almost the same, there are essential differences that clients must note.
EU Nationals can obtain the status of Permanent Residence under the EU legislation and the EEA Regulations 2016.
Under the new EU settlement scheme, which is regulated by the UK domestic immigration law, EU nationals and their family members have to apply for Settled Status. EU Nationals and their family members who have Permanent Residence status under the old EU regulations thus have to apply for Settled Status under EU Settlement Scheme. They need to do this if they wish to continue to live in the UK after 31 December 2020. The deadline to apply is 30 June 2021.
Biometric Residence Cards or Permits
EU nationals do not need to enrol their biometric details. Only non-EU nationals are issued with biometric documents when they apply for Permanent Residence or Settlement in the UK.
The reason as to why some EU nationals did not receive a new card is because they already had a valid Permanent Residence Biometric card. They will only receive electronic confirmation of their settled status under the EU Settlement Scheme.
How Breytenbachs can assist you to register for the EU Settlement Scheme
Breytenbachs have a team of highly qualified and experienced OISC consultants that deal with EU Settlement applications.
Our team will advise EU nationals and their family members on the best route to settlement and British citizenship. They also assist clients in preparing all the necessary documents and proof that they will need to register and start the application process. If you have any questions relating to the EU Settlement Scheme or wish to proceed, please feel free to contact our team of experts.