According to the latest statistics released by the Home Office on 15 August 2019, over 1 million EEA nationals have now applied for status under the EU Settlement Scheme. Of these, 951,700 applications have been decided with 64% being granted settled status in the UK. The full report is available here.
A grant of settled status will usually be made to those who can evidence their residence in the UK for a continuous period of at least 5 years, whilst pre-settles status will be granted to those who have resided here for a shorter period. EEA, Swiss and their eligible non-EU family members who are living in the UK and are yet to apply for their UK immigration status are encouraged to do so. This status is required to evidence their right to work, study and receive benefits in the UK.
With Brexit currently delayed until 31 October 2019, the Home Office have maintained that EEA and Swiss citizens living in the UK will have until at least 31 December 2020 to apply for status. The Home Office has stated that it is committed to making the process “as simple and as straightforward as possible” and that it “looks for reasons to grant status and not refuse it”.
However, for those EEA, Swiss and their eligible non–EU family members who have resided in the UK for a continuous period of more than 5 years and who may wish to become a British citizen, it may still be worth considering an application for Permanent Residence instead. At the moment, applicants who apply for Permanent Residence can still have their Permanent Residence backdated to the point at which they completed 5 years’ residence in the UK (e.g. 6 or more years ago). This means that in certain circumstances, applicants may be eligible to apply for British citizenship immediately subject to meeting other requirements. Under the Scheme, however, an individual would need to hold settled status for at least 12 months before they may be eligible to apply for British citizenship (unless the applicant is married to a British national). For these reasons, the Permanent Residence route may prove more advantageous than the EU Settlement Scheme.
Should you require any advice in regard to the EU Settlement Scheme and/or Permanent Residence, including your eligibility to apply, please do not hesitate to contact a member of our team.
The information in this blog is for general information purposes only and does not purport to be comprehensive or to provide legal advice. Whilst every effort is made to ensure the information and law is current as of the date of publication it should be stressed that, due to the passage of time, this does not necessarily reflect the present legal position. Gherson accepts no responsibility for loss which may arise from accessing or reliance on information contained in this blog. For formal advice on the current law please don’t hesitate to contact Gherson. Legal advice is only provided pursuant to a written agreement, identified as such, and signed by the client and by or on behalf of Gherson.
Solicitor in our Corporate & Complex Teams