On 26th June, the Government published a paper outlining their proposal for EU citizens living in the UK and UK nationals in the EU.
The key principles outlined in the governments publication include the following proposed measures:
- EU citizens who have lived in the UK continuously for 5 years can apply for Indefinite Leave to Remain (settlement). This allows them to live here freely, have access to public funds and services and also apply for British Citizenship (Naturalisation) if they wish.
- People who have arrived before the *cut-off date, but won’t have been here 5 years by 2019, will be able to apply to stay here until they reach 5 years. They can also apply for settlement.
- People who arrive after the *cut-off date will be able to apply to remain, after the UK leaves the EU, under future immigration arrangements for EU citizens.
- The *cut-off date won’t apply to family dependants who are currently living with, or join EU citizens before UK’s exit. They will be able to apply for settlement after 5 years.
*The cut-off date has not yet been decided, but will be no earlier than 29th March 2017 (the date Article 50 was triggered) and no later than the date the UK leaves the EU.
It is intended that EU citizens with settled status and temporary permission to stay in the UK will continue to have some access as they currently do, to healthcare, education, benefits and pensions.
The government plan to launch a scheme for people to apply for settled status before the UK leaves the EU. All EU citizens and their families in the UK will need to apply for permission to stay. Once the UK leaves the EU, this will be required by law.
The Home Office intend to make this process as user-friendly as possible for all individuals, including those who already hold a permanent residence document under current free movement rules. The new online application system is expected to be up and running in 2018.
Timeline for applications
When the UK leaves the EU, EU citizens won’t be required to leave the UK if they don’t yet have a document under the new scheme. There will be a ‘grace period’ of up to 2 years, allowing EU citizens time to apply for a new residence document. This period will cover all existing, lawful EU citizens and their families.
Permanent Residence Status under EU Law
The settled status application process for EU citizens will be separate from the current one for documents confirming EU permanent residence status. Permanent residence status is linked to the UK’s membership of the EU and so will no longer be valid after we leave.
If you already have a document certifying permanent residence, you will still need to apply for the new settled status document.
If you need help with an application or have any other immigration matter you need assistance with, please give us a call on 01793 836010.