BREXIT: Important alert for EU nationals moving/living in the UK
The Home Office announces some important dates relating to the EU Settlement Scheme eligibility.
EU Settlement Scheme Eligibility Deadline
All EU nationals living or moving to the UK should note this announcement. The UK free movement officially comes to an end with the BREXIT transition period. And this is exactly at 11 pm on 31 December 2020. Therefore, if you are an EU, EEA, or Swiss citizen, you can still enter and remain in the UK until 1 January 2021 under the existing European Law.
Below we explain three scenarios where you might fall under:
Currently in the UK, or considering coming to the UK before 11 pm on 31 December 2020
Coming after 31 December 2020 to join an EU national family member(s) already in the UK
Coming to the UK from 1 January 2021 onwards, alongside family member(s)
1. Currently in the UK, or considering coming to the UK before 31 December 2020
The EU Settlement Scheme is for EU, EEA and Swiss citizens and their eligible family member(s) currently living in the UK or planning to come into the UK, before 31 December 2020. It means, they have the opportunity to retain their residence rights after the end of the transition period. Under the Scheme, you can receive either a ‘settled’ or ‘pre-settled’ status depending on whether you were already UK based for a continuous period of five years or less.
When you apply for a right to remain under the EU Settlement Scheme, you do not need to show proof of “exercising Treaty rights” under the EEA Regulation. In fact, you can just rely on the actual physical residence in the UK. This means that you do not have to provide evidence to show that you are one of the five specified categories (i.e. worker, jobseeker, self-employed person, self-sufficient person, or student). Therefore, if you intend to move to the UK soon, we suggest you move to the UK in good time before 31 December 2020 and keep evidence of your move here. You should then apply under the EU Settlement Scheme to safeguard your right to reside in the UK based on your residence and physical presence in the UK.
You will have until 30 June 2021 to apply under the Settlement Scheme, which is called a grace period. However, it is important to remember that the grace period does not guarantee a lawful residence in the UK for all EU nationals. The grace period will not apply to those people whose residence in the United Kingdom is not in line with the requirements of the current EEA Regulations 2016. Nor will it apply to those not exercising Treaty rights as workers, self-employed or jobseeker; or a student/self-sufficient person with private insurance. Obvious examples of people who would be excluded are students and self-sufficient persons who do not hold comprehensive sickness insurance. So, to avoid issues in the long-term, we suggest getting private health insurance in the UK after 1 January 2021.
In any event, it is important to apply in good time and not to leave things very close to the deadline in June 2021.
Late applications may result in some issues. For example, if you want your family members to join you later (see below), or if you want to apply for British nationality in the future. Although the employers don’t need to conduct ‘retrospective right to work’ checks for their current EEA employees and cannot insist employees confirm their status until after 30 June 2021, all employers are encouraged to ensure their workers completed the necessary registration. Moreover, last moment application can result in a backlog and delays in getting the status. This means you may not be able to show your right to be in the UK on or after 1 July 2021, when it becomes necessary (right to work or right to rent checks).
Therefore, we recommend submitting your application in good time to ensure that you can remain in the UK lawfully after the 31 December 2020.
2. Coming after 31 December 2020 to join EU national family member(s) who is already in the UK
Whilst the most important deadline for an EU, EEA or Swiss citizen is to come to the UK before 31 December 2020, the deadline is the same for your family members to join you. And family members are also encouraged to come before 31 December 2021.
However, if you have not entered and lived in the UK before 31 December 2020, you might still be able to apply for ‘Settled’ or ‘Pre-settled’ status if the following applies to you:
Your family member who is in the UK has been granted either ‘settled’ or ‘pre-settled’ status
Your relationship with that family member began before 31 December 2020. Exception: unless you got married or entered into a civil partnership to a Swiss national after 31 December 2020, then your deadline is 31 December 2025.
You remain their close family member. For example, a spouse; civil partner; unmarried partner; a dependent child or grandchild; or a dependent parent or grandparent.
The rules and deadlines will be different if you are a family member of a British national who is returning to the UK (‘Surinder Singh’ applications).
Therefore, it is equally essential for you, as well as your family member(s), to apply for a ‘settled’ or ‘pre-settled’ status as early as possible. Otherwise, you and your family might fall under the scenario below.
3. Coming to the UK from 1 January 2021 onwards, alongside family member(s)
The new immigration system will be in place from 1 January 2021, and all EU and non-EU citizens will be treated equally. Therefore, from 1 January 2021 onwards, you will need a visa to live in the UK if you are not eligible under the EU Settlement Scheme. Moreover, you must obtain it before 30 June 2021.
To obtain a visa, you will need to qualify under one of the following categories:
Innovator / start-up founder
Special talent in technology, science or art
Temporary migration may only be allowed under very limited circumstances such as for seasonal worker or government authorised exchange.
When and How to Apply for EU Settlement Scheme?
The EU Settlement Scheme is already open now, and the deadline for applying is 30 June 2021. However, we stress that you should apply as early as possible to get a decision more quickly. This will prevent any unnecessary complications with getting your family members to join you, your and their right to work, right to rent or future lawful residence documentation.
When applying, you will need to provide proof of:
Your residence in the UK, unless you have a valid permanent residence document, or valid indefinite leave to remain in or enter the UK.
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