Hello Good People of Europe,
On Monday 15th January UKCEN attended the Users Representative Group Meeting organised by the Home Office alongside other organisations such as the Polish Social and Cultural Association, the New Europeans, British Future, CAB, East European Resource Centre and the3million.
This is a summary of the main points confirmed by the Home Office about the new Settled Status.
Please note that this is a confirmation of what the Home Office has already stated publicly and we are sharing this again with you All
- The registration process will be very easy
- Most people won’t have to send any documents
- The onus will be on the Home Office to do the work, not the applicant
- It will be a digital application service
- Free of charge support will be provided for those who are unable to or have difficulties with an online system
- The expectation is that over 99% of EU nationals currently in the UK will qualify for either settled or pre-settled status
- The status will include all EU nationals and not just those who have been exercising treaty rights
So far the meetings, which are focussed on the system of application of Settled Status, have been very productive and the Home Office has demonstrated they have taken on board many of the constructive suggestions made by UKCEN, such as the need to provide support to those who are unable to or have difficulties with an online system, and other suggestions made by some of the other participants.
The purpose of these meetings is not to draft a policy, but only to set up an easy and accessible procedure of application of Settled Status. Which it is confirmed it will be based on residence.
While the Home Office’s intentions appear to be positive, it is still unclear how the system will work in practice for citizens such non-EU family members, and those with derived rights. UKCEN intend to discuss this with the Home Office at the next possible opportunity.
Home Office errors
The Home Office seems inclined to avoid repeating the mistakes made in the past and although we want to engage in a positive and constructive manner UKCEN will remain vigilant and raise any issue of relevance to the process.
Voluntary early registration during the transition period and before the ratification of the Withdrawal Agreement
For the Settled Status to become officially operational in the Home Office system, the UK Government will need to legislate and enshrine its policy in primary and secondary legislation, we expect this to happen at the end of 2018. This means that protection and safeguards for applicants in case of rejection or refusal will be in place in the form of an appeal procedure which also will be enshrined into UK Law.
The UK Government has stated ‘The Home Office will provide support to ensure your application isn’t turned down because of simple errors or omissions. We will contact you where it appears a simple omission has taken place and help you fix it. We will also let you know if you need to provide more evidence before a decision is made.’
The system will initially be only voluntary and will become mandatory at the end of the transitional period (after 2020 or 2021 depending on the outcome of the next round of EU-UK negotiations).
What are the advantages of voluntary registration?
- It is expected that groups such as stay-at-home people and spouses of British citizens who are also economically inactive will to be able to acquire Settled Status and naturalise (if they can have dual nationality, if it advisable to do so e.g. naturalisation does not compromise the rights of residency of non-EEA spouses and wish to do so) and will be able to vote at the next General Elections or Referendums at the next possible opportunity.
- It is expected that groups such as disabled people, carers and those in receipt of public funds will also be able to acquire Settled Status and naturalise (if they can have dual nationality, if it advisable to do so e.g. naturalisation does not compromise the rights of residency of non-EEA spouses and wish to do so) and be able to vote at the next General Elections or Referendums at the next possible opportunity.
- It is expected that groups who need to access public funds will be able to do so via a much simpler process (if compared to PR) by acquiring the Settled Status.
- It is expected that those who have arrived before 29 March 2019 will be able to register for a Pre-Settled Status (less than 5 years resident) by demonstrating to be a resident, again, without the need to prove CSI cover if self-sufficient or a student. This will include disabled people, carers and those in receipt of public funds.
- Lastly please note that after obtaining Settled Status, it is expected that people will be able to leave the UK for up to 5 continuous years without losing the status. This might particularly relevant to those who need to move for long periods of times for work or family reasons.
UKCEN will continue to work with the Home Office in a constructive yet assertive manner and will bring you any future updates as soon as they become available.
The UKCEN Team