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EU migrants' rights: Hot off the press – Nothing much is changing!

22 June 2018
Glass enclave reception area of a corporate building
Following a protracted period of uncertainty for approximately 3.2 million European Economic Area (EEA) Migrants, the Home Secretary, Sajid Javid, yesterday published an announcement in respect of future settlement status.

The communication details the "immense pride" that Mr Javid takes regarding European Nationals making their homes in the UK, and stresses that appropriate support and assistance will be provided to all European Union (EU) migrants as and however needed.

However, it would be anticipated that despite the platitudes and assurances in the announcement regarding the new proposed process most migrants would already be quickly clicking to the "what the system will look like" link, to ascertain the precise detail.


This is in summary:

  • The UK is introducing its own settlement scheme for EU nationals which will replace in its entirety the existing arrangements which operate by virtue of present European Law.
  • A phased introduction of the scheme will begin later this year with full implementation by March 2019
  • The deadline for applying for the new UK settled status will be 30 June 2021.
  • Anyone who wants to apply for UK settlement will need to have started living in the UK by 31 December 2020.
  • Settlement will be based on five years' continuous residency.
    -  If an EU migrant has this on or before 30 June 2021 then an application can be made for settlement.
    - If an EU migrant does not have this on or before 30 June 2021 then they can apply for "pre-settled status", which will then permit the migrant to remain in the UK for a further five years, in order to allow them to acquire the required five year residency.
  • The proposed cost of any settlement application will be £65 for adults and £32.50 for children (16 and under).
    Other existing conditions for permanent residence applications will continue, such as the requirement to provide biometric information (photo and fingerprints) as part of the process, together with maintaining UK residency of 180 days within each consecutive five year period remaining a mandatory criterion.

Similarly, derivative rights of non EU family members' residence and settlement will continue along previous lines.

The Home Office is extolling the fact that the proposed new system will be faster and easier, and significantly less bureaucratic to use than the present one. Present evidential burdens in respect of working and residency, such as provision of original P60s and bank statements, may be eased by way of acceptance of scanned documents or enquiries being made by the Home Office of HM Revenue & Customs direct.

There is even an assurance that if any mistake is made in the application the Home Office will contact the migrant before making a decision, to allow the error to be corrected. For those familiar with dealing with Home Office bureaucracy this will be a refreshing change, if implemented as proposed, although there will no doubt be some scepticism in this regard.

The Home Office announcement may go some way to alleviate the prior concerns of UK resident EU Nationals and is now being used by the Government to make EU member states show their own cards in respect of the reciprocal arrangements they will be put in place. However, please spare a thought for citizens of Norway, Iceland, Liechtenstein and Switzerland whose settlement status is still the subject of ongoing negotiation.

Further Reading