Post-Brexit settlement scheme for EU citizens
On 21 June 2018 the Home Office published further details of the post-Brexit settlement scheme for EU citizens.
It was announced that the settlement scheme will be fully open by 30 March 2019. The deadline for applications will be 30 June 2021.
Immigration minister Caroline Nokes told the Commons on the 21st June: “It will be straightforward for EU citizens residing in the UK to obtain status. If they have lived here continuously for five years, they will be eligible for settled status. Those who have lived here for less than five years will generally be granted pre-settled status and be able to apply for settled status once they reach the five-year point. Applicants will not need to show that they meet other detailed requirements of current free movement rules. This means, for example, that stay-at-home parents, retired people and students can all be eligible.”
According to the Secretary of State for the Home Department, Nokes confirmed that those applying under the scheme will need to meet 3 requirements. They will need to prove their identity, show that they live in the UK and declare that they have no serious criminal convictions.
With regards to the fee, Nokes announced that for people applying under the scheme the fee will be £65 for an adult and £32.50 for a child under 16. For those who already have valid permanent residence or indefinite leave to remain documentation, they will be able to exchange it for settled status for free.
The new online application system will be accessible through phones, tablets, laptops and computers.
Adrienne Yong, lecturer at The University of London City Law School and Tanja Bueltmann, an EU citizen and a professor at Northumbria University published their comments and pointed out some of the issues that have not been addressed in the new settlement scheme.
Yong published a handy explainer of the settlement scheme. According to her, two of the main issues are: the status of “Zambrano” carers and the fact that the settlement scheme’s provisions on criminality checks do not currently comply with EU case law applying Article 28, Directive 2004/38.
In addition, she points out that protection from deportation is another issue that has not been dealt with: “What this means is that despite having settled status, EU citizens could still be deported.”
Further, Tanja Bueltmann wrote an article in the Guardian commenting that the new settlement plan does nothing to reassure EU citizens. While she welcomed a number of positives in the Home Office document, she said: “Unfortunately, the clarity on some issues sits against a backdrop that is muddy and couched in vague language and timelines. In the end, the vast majority of our concerns, set out in the 150 unsettled questions by campaign group, the3million, remain unanswered.”
Bueltmann continued: “But the main concern relates to the draft immigration rules. Described as ‘necessarily technical’, the plan is to implement settled status largely through secondary legislation. This type of legislation does not require the involvement of parliament, and so can be changed very easily. EU citizens, our lives forever reliant on the mood of future governments and the Home Office.”