Out-Law News 1 min. read

First EU 'settled status' applications expected under pilot scheme

A private pilot of the scheme for EU citizens who wish to obtain the right to remain in the UK after Brexit is now underway.

EU citizens working at 12 NHS trusts in the north west of England, as well as students and staff from three Liverpool universities, were able to apply for 'settled status' from 28 August 2018. This will allow those working on the scheme to test the system, using real applicants, ahead of a phased rollout planned to begin towards the end of this year.

Around 4,000 people will be eligible to apply on a voluntary basis as part of the pilot, which will be accessible by invitation only. All EU citizens will be able to apply online once the scheme is fully up and running, however those making an application as part of the pilot will be required to attend an appointment with a Home Office representative who will help to take them through the online application process.

Immigration minister Caroline Nokes said that the pilot would "help us ensure the system will be ready when the rollout begins later this year".

"The EU Settlement Scheme will make it easy for EU citizens to get the status they need, and when it is launched they will only need to complete three key steps - prove their identity, show that they live in the UK, and declare any criminal convictions," she said.

"EU citizens make a huge contribution to our economy and to our society and we want them to stay," she said.

The government intends to make the settlement scheme available to EU citizens who have been living in the UK for five years before the end of the post-Brexit transition period, which is anticipated for 31 December 2020. Those who have not yet met the five-year residence requirement would be able to apply for 'pre-settled status', and to convert this to settled status once they have been living in the UK for five years.

Applicants for settled status will be asked to prove their identity and that they have been living in the UK for the past five years, and to declare that they have no serious convictions. They will ultimately be able to apply entirely online via a government website or an app for tablets and smartphones, or to apply by post.

The government intends to charge a fee of £65 for applications, or £32.50 for children under 16. EU citizens who have already obtained permanent resident status or indefinite leave to remain in the UK will be able to exchange this for settled status free of charge.

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