EU Settlement Scheme
The aim of the scheme is that "EU citizens living in the UK, along with their family members, will be able to stay and continue their lives, with the same access to work, study, benefits and public services that they enjoy now. Existing close family members living overseas will be able to join them here in future".
To provide more information on the new EU Settlement Scheme, the Home Office has published two pamphlets:
The scheme will cover EU citizens and their family members who are resident in the UK by 31 December 2020.
Some key points of the scheme are:
- In most cases, eligibility for settled status will be based on whether you have lived in the UK for 5 years.
- If you do not qualify for settled status because you have not lived in the UK for 5 years, you should be granted pre-settled status. Pre-settled status will allow you to stay here for a further 5 years and you will be free to live and work here and will have the same access to public funds and services as you do now. You can go on to apply for settled status once you have lived in the UK for 5 years
- Comprehensive sickness insurance is not required for the purposes of this scheme; ordinary residence will remain the test for eligibility for free NHS treatment.
- If employed, the Home Office will have a link to HMRC tax records to confirm evidence of residence during the period of work.
- Permitted absences are the same as under EU law now. If you have not yet been continuously resident in the UK for 5 years, you should ensure that your absences do not exceed six months in total in any 12-month period, though you may be absent for one period of up to 12 months for an important reason such as study, pregnancy or childbirth or an overseas posting.
- Holders of settled status may be absent from the UK for up to 5 years without losing this status.
- People who have already acquired the right of permanent residence in the UK will need to transfer evidence of this right to the new settled status scheme, but this application will be free of charge and holders may be absent from the UK for up to 5 years (not 2 as is currently the case).
- The application should be straight forward and, in most cases, granted quickly unless you have a serious criminal conviction (seek legal advice now if you are worried about this)
- Irish citizens are not required to apply under this scheme but may do so, and their family members are covered by the scheme.
Those planning to apply for British citizenship can continue with Permanent Residence Card applications under the current system. However those who are not planning to apply for British citizenship now may wish to wait until the new EU Settlement Scheme opens.
To apply for a Permanent Residence Card under the current scheme: https://www.gov.uk/apply-for-a-uk-residence-card/permanent-residence-card
For details of the European Passport Return service: https://www.gov.uk/government/collections/european-passport-return-service
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If you have any queries or wish to discuss your status or have questions about either the EU Settlement Scheme or Permanent Residence applications, please contact either: firstname.lastname@example.org or email@example.com.