As the EU Settlement Scheme approaches five years date its start date, it is an interesting point to take stock of what has happened and what is currently happening.
As of 31 March 2023, the EU Settlement Scheme had received 7.2 million applications, of which roughly 50% were granted settled status and just under 40% have been granted pre-settled status. The balance were refused, withdrawn, void or invalid applications.
For those who were granted pre-settled status early on in the process, and the first of those would have been in August 2018, their five years of this status will shortly be coming to an end. Had it not been for the judicial review brought by the IMA, to remain legally in the United Kingdom, they would now have had to apply for settled status. As we know from this case (which you can read more about on our previous blog), the Home Office has conceded that applicants with pre-settled status do not need to apply for settled status. However, as of yet, they have not provided any guidance or any indication of what they intend to do with people in this situation. It is therefore difficult to assess how easily these people are going to be able to prove specific rights that they have, such as the right to work or right to benefits or how they will show a landlord that they are legally residing in the United Kingdom if they do not apply for settled status. Our current advice therefore remains that people should apply for settled status before their pre settled status expires. We know that this will give our clients the ability to prove their immigration status. Obtaining settled status is also still going to be essential if somebody wants to naturalise to become a British citizen in the future.
One of the other difficulties that we are aware are the significant delays in administrative reviews. An administrative review is a way of challenging an initial decision made by the Home Office. Unfortunately, these are currently outstanding at the Home Office for roughly a year, causing clients to be left in limbo without knowing whether or not they will be able to gain status in the United Kingdom. Many clients may want to look at a different way of resolving their immigration issue such as reapplying and we can discuss that option with you if you find yourself in this situation.
Although the Home Office initially stated that the EU Settlement Scheme was to close on
30 June 2021 for new applicants, they have since then been accepting late applications. In general, the Home Office have taken a very reasonable view of how to deal with these cases and have not forced clients to provide detailed reasons as to why the application is late. However, we are finding that clients, for example who are not living in the United Kingdom but have a historical five-year period of residing here and have returned within five years of leaving the United Kingdom, are routinely having their applications refused. Our input has been used successfully to have such cases overturned.
If you are affected by any of the issues addressed above or anything else in relation to the EU Settlement Scheme and would like expert legal advice, please do not hesitate to contact us at firstname.lastname@example.org or on 020 7401 6887.