Yesterday, 7th November 2017, the Government set out further details of how the new settled status scheme for EU citizens and their family members will operate as the UK leaves the EU. In a technical document sent to the European Commission as part of the negotiations, the Government reiterates how the new system will be streamlined, low-cost and user-friendly, with EU citizens consulted on its design.
EU citizens applying to stay in the UK after Brexit will have plenty of time, up to two years after the UK has left the EU, to obtain settled status. Those applying to stay in the UK after we leave the EU will not have their applications refused on minor technicalities and caseworkers considering applications will exercise discretion where appropriate. The new system will minimise the documentary evidence required and EU citizens will not be required to provide fingerprints as part of the application process.
Decisions will be based solely on the criteria set out in the Withdrawal Agreement, with no discretion for other reasons for refusal. EU citizens will also be given a statutory right of appeal, in line with their current rights through the Free Movement Directive, if their application is unsuccessful.
The Prime Minister has been clear that safeguarding the rights of EU citizens living in the UK and UK nationals in Europe is the first priority for negotiations and she said last month that an agreement is within touching distance.
Negotiation between the UK and EU is continuing and the next talks will take place this week on 9 and 10 November. We will continue to keep you updated on further progress.
If you need assistance with any UK Immigration matter or visa application, please contact our offices on 01793 836010.