Everything you need to know about the EU Settlement Scheme and how to apply
Employers should be aware that EU nationals coming to work in the UK from 1st January 2021 will require permission to work under the new immigration system that comes into force from that date. EU employees already in the UK or coming to the UK before 31st December 2020 will be able to take advantage of the free to apply EU Settlement Scheme. A successful application will allow the employee to live and work in the UK for either a temporary 5 year period or permanently, dependant on their application qualifying criteria. It is vital that employers review their HR records to ensure their EU employees register to the scheme before 30th June 2021.
What is the settlement scheme and why is it necessary?
The United Kingdom (UK) left the European Union (EU) on 31 January 2020. The EU settlement scheme is designed to offer EU, non-EU EEA and Swiss citizens and their eligible family members living in the UK before the end of the transition period (during which free movement continues) the opportunity to protect their residence in the UK after the transition period has ended.
Do I have to apply under the settlement scheme?
EU citizens, non-EU EEA, Swiss citizens and the eligible family members of all of them who are in the UK beyond 31 December 2020 will need to have immigration permission (either through the EU settlement scheme or through another category of the Immigration Rules as they will be from January 2021). Please note that those who enter the UK before 31 December 2020 will have until 30 June 2021 to apply under the scheme.
How long does an application take?
It usually takes around 5 working days for complete applications to be processed if no further information is required, but it can take up to a month. Your application is likely to take longer than a month to process if the Home Office need to request more information from you.
What is Pre-Settled & Settled status?
Pre-settled status is granted to EU citizens and family who apply to the scheme but have not lived in the UK for five years on December 31, 2020. They can continue to live in Britain until they reach the five years, then apply to change their pre-settled to settled status for no fee.
Settled status is granted to EU citizens and family who apply to the scheme and have lived in the UK for five years on December 31, 2020. Five years’ continuous residence means that for 5 years in a row you have been in the UK, the Channel Islands or the Isle of Man for at least 6 months in any 12 month period.
What are my rights with settled or pre-settled status?
You will be able to:
- Work in the UK.
- Use the NHS for free as you do now.
- Enrol in education or continue studying.
- Access public funds such as benefits and pensions if you are eligible for them.
- Travel in and out of the UK.
What if you want to spend time outside the UK?
If you have settled status, you can spend up to 5 years in a row outside the UK without losing your status.
If you are a Swiss citizen, you and your family members can spend up to 4 years in a row outside the UK without losing your settled status.
If you have pre-settled status, you can spend up to 2 years in a row outside the UK without losing your status. You will need to maintain your continuous residence if you want to qualify for settled status.
How do I apply to the EU Settlement Scheme?
You can use the ‘EU Exit: ID Document Check’ app on an Android phone or an iPhone 7 or above.
To scan your documents using a phone, you will need one of the following:
• a valid EU, EEA or Swiss passport or ID card, if it is biometric
• a UK-issued biometric residence card
You can use someone else’s phone to prove your identity.
Alternatively, you can complete an online application via the Home Office website.
Your eligibility for the EU Settlement Scheme is based on the length of time you have been living in the UK. To obtain settled status you will need to have lived continuously in the UK for five years. If you have less than five years’ continuous residence at the point you apply, you will be eligible for pre-settled status. You can then apply for settled status after you have lived in the UK continuously for five years.
We are here to help in any way we can
K2 can assess whether you are eligible to apply to the scheme and further details on the application process. Please do contact us as we would be delighted to assist you.
Additionally, if you would like to have a virtual coffee with any of our immigration experts, please contact us we would be happy to arrange this.