Christmas is here and there’s good news all round. Citizens of EFTA countries and Switzerland are now included in the settlement scheme, the pilot will open to the public at the end of January and the citizenship form now makes allowances for applicants with settled status. What more can we ask for?
Notes from the EU Immigration Users Representative Group on the 17th of December 2018
Private Beta 2 pilot update
There had been 18,000 applications, and 15,000 had been processed at that point. Every single case that had been decided, had been granted. No-one was refused, although some applicants were asked to provide further evidence.
The HO have learned a lot from the scheme and are making changes to improve their guidance and systems. They are keen to hear about any difficulties individuals encounter. Applicants are expected to communicate these directly to the HO when they occur, so they can be looked at to identify any faults in the system.
The Home Office have increased the size allowed for each uploaded document, to 6Mb per document, up to a maximum of 10 documents. You can upload more than 10 if you group uploads together to a maximum of 6Mb per upload. They are only interested in seeing the first page of documents such as bank statement, with the date, name and address.
New pilot due to start in January
A third private Beta Pilot will start towards the end of January 2019 and new Immigration Rules have been laid providing for this. This Pilot will be open to any EU national who has a passport and can use the online system. More locations will open around the country providing assistance, they are building up to a 100 locations.
They are still in negotiations with Apple in respect to iPhone and iPad, but they do not anticipate this being resolved before the full roll out in March.
Family members from outside the EU
It was confirmed that, once settled status is open to the non EU family members of EU nationals, those non EU family members will be issued with a Biometric document if they do not already have a Biometric Residence Card.
There was a discussion of what would happen in a no deal situation, as per the policy paper. The officials stressed that they were not anticipating a no deal situation. Questions were asked about differentiating between EU nationals returning to the UK who were residing here prior to the 29th of March 2019 and those coming to the UK for the first time between after that date. They stated that there were no plans to change the Rules at the border, and it was intended that anybody presenting an EU passport would be allowed entry. The Rules relating to EU nationals who come to the UK for the first time after the end of March 2019 in a no deal situation are yet to be finalised.
Agreement reached with Norway, Iceland, Liechtenstein and Switzerland
An agreement has finally been reached with the EFTA countries above as well as Switzerland. This means nationals of this countries will also be able to apply for settled and pre-settled status in the UK under the scheme.
Page 4 of the the EEA EFTA Separation Agreement Explainer document states the following:
18. In the UK, EEA EFTA nationals and their family members can apply for a residence status through the EU Settlement Scheme.
Page 5 of the the UK and Swiss Citizens Rights Agreement Explainer document states the following:
21. In the UK, Swiss citizens and their family members can apply for a residence status through the EU Settlement Scheme.
EU Settlement Scheme rolled out to public test phase
Following the success of the two Private Beta pilots, the scheme is being opened to EU nationals with a valid passport and non EU family members with a valid biometric residence card to take part in a public test phase of the Scheme, from 21 January 2019.
See this page for more details: EU settlement scheme rolled out to public test phase.
This is the Statement of Changes to the Immigration Rules that provides the legal framework.
New AN paper form and guidance with provision for settled status
The paper AN form has been updated to provide for applicants using settled status to apply for British citizenship. Question 1.3 now reads:
Date you were given indefinite leave to enter/remain, including indefinite leave to remain granted under the EU Settlement Scheme (referred to as “settled status”), and where you wish to use this to support your application.
Question 2.4 has also been updated to read:
If you have been granted indefinite leave to remain under the EU Settlement Scheme you do not need to complete this section – make sure you have completed section 1.3 and then move on to section 3.