On 21 January the Prime Minister announced that there will be no fee to apply under the EU Settlement Scheme when the scheme opens fully on 30 March 2019. Anyone who has or will apply during the pilot phases will have their fee refunded. The PM stated that this policy change was in response to concerns from organisations like 'The 3 Million' group and from MPs regarding the anxieties EU nationals are currently facing.
This is a welcome development but does not change the uncertainties facing those making longer term plans for staffing or moving to the UK after 29 March this year. Please see our earlier post relating to a 'no-deal Brexit' here.
A new phase of the EU Settlement Scheme pilot opened on 21 January. This is a voluntary test phase and the scheme will be fully open by 30 March 2019. To apply under the test phase you must be either:
• A resident EU citizen with a valid EU passport; or
• The non-EU citizen family member of an EU citizen and you have a biometric residence card.
You will also need to have access to an Android device to use the Home Office app. You can find further details on using the app here.
Details of who is eligible to apply for the test phase are here.
Many EU nationals are still not aware that it will be mandatory for them to apply for pre-settled or settled status under the Scheme by June 2021 in order to continue to live and work in the UK, even if they currently hold Permanent Residence. Employers have an opportunity to help ease uncertainty for their EU employees and to prevent potential future right to work issues by providing them with updates. The Government has created an employer toolkit here which can help with this.
If you have any questions please do not hesitate contact Gillian McKearney.