Notes from the EU Immigration Users Representative Group on 27th November 2018
Effect of the Withdrawal Agreement
The Withdrawal Agreement only applies to people who have been exercising Treaty Rights, however, it is the Home Office’s policy to grant settled status to people with 5 years residence. The 5 year residence rule is a policy made law through the Immigration Rules in Appendix EU and the officials could not envisage a situation in which that policy would change. The rights in the Withdrawal Agreement will be incorporated into UK law through statute. They accepted that improved communication may be needed for those who are not aware that 5 years residence is sufficient.
Demo of the online settlement scheme system
Status is created when an applicant is granted settled or pre-settled status. This is how the system will work:
- When you are granted status, you get a link for you to “view and prove your rights in the UK”. When you click on this link, it asks you for the number of the document used to prove your identity when applying under the scheme, usually your passport or National ID card. There is a facility to complete an enquiry form to retrieve this information if you have lost or forgotten the details.
- To verify you, it then asks for your date of birth and the mobile number or email address used when you set up your account to apply under the scheme, and there is an enquiry form to request to retrieve this information if you do not have it. You have the option of providing either your mobile number or your email address, a code will be sent to that mobile number or email address.
- Enter the code on the screen to go to your profile page with your photo and the page will tell you if you have settled status or pre-settled status.
- The profile page has tabs for information on “using and proving your status” and “keep details up to date” where you can update your mobile or e mail address, changes to your ID document, and even change your photo.
- There is a tab called “Proving your Rights” which includes “Prove your right to work to an employer”. When you click this tab it will say “Your Name, You can work in the UK”. You can then share this with an employer by either entering the e mail address of the employer and sending them a link, or you can create a shared code which the employer can use at their own convenience. The employer will need to know your date of birth and provide the name of the employer to use the code to access the data. Once legislation has been amended, EU nationals will no longer need to provide an original passport or ID card to an employer if they have settled or pre-settled status. They will simply need to provide them with either an e mail or shared code.
- Additional tabs will be added over time, including a tab to prove your right to reside to a landlord.
Online status and travel
There was a discussion about how this online status can be used when travelling outside the country and returning to the UK border. The view of the officials was that the UK will negotiate visa free travel for all EU nationals so that they will not need a visa to travel to the UK. This is all to be negotiated between now and the end of the transition period.
Update on the pilot scheme
There was a discussion about the private Beta 2 phase, the ongoing trial of the online application process open to select groups. The officials seem satisfied that it is progressing satisfactorily, there were “no show stoppers” to report back. They are looking closely at where common errors are being made by applicants, with a view to revising their communications and guidance. Thousands of people have already applied.
Participants who had direct involvement in assisting individuals applying under this phase of the pilot gave examples of issues arising, such people having to send in their passport because the app would not recognise it when scanned and random rejection of faces scanned. There is no further progress on being able to use the app on Apple phones.
From the 29th of November, individuals will be able to apply directly if they are employed by the employers listed in private Beta 2 (list on pages 4 to 7), without the employer having to invite them. A private Beta 3 phase is likely to take place between January and March, widening the pool of applicants. Details will be announced soon.