I know you have concerns about the future of EU citizens in the UK. While it is not for me to comment on any individual case, I can assure you that the EU Settlement Scheme protects EU citizen’s rights and provides those citizens with an immigration status under UK law.
The new system for obtaining settled status is streamlined, user-friendly and draws on existing Government data to minimise the burden on applicants to provide evidence. Applications will not be refused on minor technicalities without the applicant being given the opportunity to rectify them, and caseworkers considering applications will exercise discretion in favour of the applicant where appropriate. As a result, the Home Office has said it expects the vast majority of cases to be granted, with refusals most likely to be because of serious criminality or if the person is not an EU citizen (or family member). Once obtained, people will be able to be absent from the UK for up to five years without losing their settled status. This is more than double the level of absence allowed under current EU law.
I welcome the news that there have been two million applications to the EU Settlement Scheme. This milestone sends an important message to EU citizens: you are our friends and we want you to stay.
I was very pleased when the then Prime Minister announced that there will be no application fee. Any person who has applied during the pilot phases will have their fee reimbursed. This decision makes clear to EU citizens living in the UK that their contribution to our society is deeply valued and this will not change regardless of the outcome of the negotiations.
No one who is eligible for the EU Settlement Scheme will be denied re-entry into the UK if they happen to be abroad when free movement comes to an end. I can confirm that such a scenario would not affect the rights of EU citizens and their families to apply for the Scheme.
We are leaving the EU on 31 October with or without a deal. While I do completely understand your concerns in the event of a no-deal scenario, the deadline for applying for the EU Settlement Scheme will remain 30 June 2021 with a deal or 31 December 2020 in the event of no-deal.
Last updated October 2019