Notes from the Home Office User Group – 25th June 2018
The meeting was dedicated to discussing the recently published statement of intent and draft rules.
Backdating of settled status like PR
At the moment, settled status cannot be backdated, so those wishing to apply for citizenship without being married to a British citizen at the time of their application will have to wait 12 months. This is still being looked at.
Cut off date for PR applications
People will be able to apply for PR until the end of the transition period, but not the grace period.
Omitting information such as spent convictions or cautions
Merely forgetting to provide this information will not result in refusal, there are specific refusal criteria relating to the relevance of the information and whether or not it is material.
Not applying before the end of the grace period
If there is a good reason not to have applied, the deadline can be extended on a case by case basis. If there is a large number of people who have yet to apply, deadlines can be moved as per the Withdrawal Agreement. There are no targets for numbers.
Will applicants with settled status who absent themselves for a period of just short of five years have to come back to the UK to settle, as per the immigration rules, or will they be able to keep their status valid with a short visit?
At the moment there are no plans to require a minimum return time.
Can someone qualify for settled status if they had previously acquired PR but had lost that through an absence of more than two years but less than five?
Yes, they can. The fact that the PR will have lapsed will not be considered, however, the applicant must apply before the end of the implementation period.
Applying for settled status from outside the UK
Initially, it will not be possible to apply from abroad, but this is something that is being looked at.
Will the cases of McCarthy and Lounes still apply to EEA nationals who have acquired British citizenship?
Yes, they will.
What are the implications for those who are working in the UK but living in another member state, such as Ireland?
Frontier workers are accounted for in the rules. Their protected rights will continue and schemes are being set up with specific regulations for those who want to keep being frontier workers but do not want to apply for settled status.
When will the first cohort of applications be made and who will it be?
This will be announced in due course.
What happens to those who apply before Brexit?
They will have the same settled status under the immigration rules as those who apply later. They will not have the right of appeal or protection under the Withdrawal Agreement until the Brexit date, but these protections for them will be written into primary legislation. Until then, they will have a right of administrative review in the event of refusal.
The Home Office are trying to move away from physical cards as they are easy to abuse. There are two years before any proof of status will be needed, and they will keep monitoring the situation with both EEA nationals and their dependents.
Will the online application be the only way to apply?
Initially, it will be, but they are considering other methods, such as over the phone.
The rules refer to fee reductions for children, which will be waived for children who are being cared for by a local authority as well as for applicants with PR or ILR. There are no plans to have fee waivers for others, it is felt that £65 is a reasonable amount to charge, and that this can be achieved by the deadline without hardship. However, they are open to further representations on this.
Awareness and feedback
The Home Office are very keen for groups to organise events to spread information and ask questions. They appreciate that most vulnerable groups will want to hear from those groups and not the Home Office, so will be making sources of information open to groups. Group members can provide feedback through our group.