UK opens settlement scheme for EU citizens

EU citizens will be able to apply for settled status in three easy steps for less than the price of a passport, under plans outlined by the Immigration Minister today, June 21. 

“EU citizens make a huge contribution to our economy and to our society. They are our friends, family and colleagues and we want them to stay. “This is an important step which will make it easy for EU citizens to get the status they need to continue working and living here. “We are demonstrating real progress and I look forward to hearing more detail on how the EU will make reciprocal arrangements for UK nationals living in the EU” – Immigration Minister Caroline Nokes said.

EU citizens living in the UK and their family members will need to apply under the settlement scheme to obtain their new UK immigration status. Caroline Nokes confirmed that those applying under the scheme will only need to complete three key steps. They will need to prove their identity, show that that they live in the UK, and declare that they have no serious criminal convictions.

 The Minister also announced the planned fee for people applying under the scheme. It is proposed that an application will cost £65 and £32.50 for a child under 16. For those who already have valid permanent residence or indefinite leave to remain documentation, they will be able to exchange it for settled status for free.

The Home Office will check the employment and benefit records held by government which will mean that, for many, their proof of residence will be automatic.

Those who have not yet lived in the UK for five years will be granted pre-settled status and be able to apply for settled status once they reach the five-year point. From April 2019, this second application will be free of charge.

 The draft Immigration Rules which have been published today providing details of the scheme, deliver on the citizens’ rights agreement with the EU reached in March this year, which also guarantees the rights of UK nationals living in the EU.

 The new online application system will be accessible through phones, tablets, laptops and computers. The Government will provide support for the vulnerable and those without access to a computer, and continues to work with EU citizens’ representatives and embassies to ensure the system works for everyone.

The settlement scheme will open in a phased way from later this year and will be fully open by 30 March 2019. The deadline for applications will be 30 June 2021.

 The Home Office will continue to engage with stakeholders, including employers, local authority representatives and community groups, about the detailed design of the scheme before the Rules are laid before Parliament.

The European Parliament representative to Brexit negotiations MEP Guy Verhofstadt expressed his concerns about EU citizens rights to vote in the UK:

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