On 9 and 10 November 2017, the UK is set to negotiate new rules with the EU in relation to EU nationals living in the UK. Home Office shared the technical document that will be the basis of the foreseen negotiations. What does the new settled status entail?
1. New Legal Basis
Currently, EU nationals in the UK derive their rights in the UK directly from the EU Treaty. The new foreseen legal basis is the Withdrawal Agreement drafted under international law. EU law, so far, has proven to protect the rights of the EU nationals better than international law agreements.
2. When Do the New Rules are Set to Apply?
The new rules are set to apply up to two years after the UK has left the EU. The intention is to give EU nationals plenty of time to apply for the new settled status.
Conversely, under the current regime the EU nationals had no legal obligation to prove their status in the UK and could come and go, and pursue work and business opportunities in the UK as they pleased.
3. The New Procedure: What is the Pledge?
Under the new procedure it is being pledged:
- EU nationals will not have their applications refused on minor technicalities and caseworkers will be permitted to exercise their discretion when and where possible;
- 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 be given statutory right of appeal if their application is not successful;
- the new system will be streamlined, low-cost and user-friendly with EU citizens consulted on its design.
The intention is to adopt a pragmatic approach to the application of the agreed conditions for example, by not checking that comprehensive sickness insurance has been held by those who are not economically active or are studying, or applying a genuine and effective work test.
4. The Cost of Application
Home Office fee for permanent residence is £65.00, which cannot be increased. The new proposed cost is estimated to be higher. However, the pledge is being made that it will be not costlier than the passport cost. British passport cost, depending on the amount of pages wanted is either £72.50 or £85.50.
The pledge is being made that the settled status costs will not be tied to the Home Office fees associated to process indefinite leave to remain for third country nationals, which is currently priced as £2,297.00 per applicant. It is further claimed that the fee will not be tied to the naturalisation costs, which is £1,282.00.
It will suffice to note that Home Office reviews and updates its fees on the annual basis.
5. Temporary Status
Temporary status will be awarded to EU citizens who will not be eligible for settled status. This is to enable EU nationals to remain in the UK until they have solid five years of UK residence. Once 5 years of residence are obtained, these nationals will become eligible to apply for settled status.
6. The Issues of Criminality
EU Treaty does not protect EU nationals who engage in criminal activity in the UK or overseas and permits the UK to expel such nationals under the current rules.
The EU nationals were never required to prove their immigration status while living or working in the UK. After Brexit, the EU nationals will be given at least 2 years to apply for settled status. The pledge is being made that the application process will be more simplified and streamlined. The EU citizens who will not be eligible to apply for their settled status will be given temporary status. This would help them to build up the years of required UK residence in order to become eligible to apply for settled status in the future.
Should you require any assistance with your application or uncertain of your status and options that may be relevant for you, please feel free to contact us via e-mail: firstname.lastname@example.org or phone 0203 286 4887.