First ap­pli­ca­tions from EU na­tion­als for set­tled sta­tus

The Malta Business Weekly - - NEWS -

The first ap­pli­ca­tions from EU na­tion­als want­ing to stay in the UK af­ter Brexit are be­ing sub­mit­ted.

A group of univer­sity stu­dents and NHS work­ers in the north­west of Eng­land are tak­ing part in a trial to test the sys­tem be­fore it opens later this year.

The three mil­lion or so EU res­i­dents in the UK have un­til the end of June 2021 to regis­ter for "set­tled sta­tus".

Min­is­ters, who in­sist the process will be sim­ple, say the pi­lot will al­low for "nec­es­sary ad­just­ments" to be made.

The UK is due to leave the EU on 29 March 2019.

The govern­ment has said it wants EU na­tion­als liv­ing in the country to be able to stay, with Brexit Sec­re­tary Do­minic Raab say­ing last week that this ap­plied whether there was an agree­ment on the terms of exit or not.

Min­is­ters have said they aim to keep pa­per­work to a min­i­mum, say­ing the form that has to be filled in on­line or via smart­phone app will con­tain only a hand­ful of ques­tions and take a mat­ter of min­utes to com­plete.

Up to 4,000 peo­ple, in­clud­ing stu­dents from Liver­pool uni­ver­si­ties and staff from 12 NHS trusts, will be the first to have a go dur­ing the pi­lot. They are be­ing guided through the ap­pli­ca­tion process by Home Of­fice of­fi­cials.

Ap­pli­cants have to pro­vide proof of iden­tity, de­clare any crim­i­nal con­vic­tions and up­load a photo- graph - while of­fi­cials will check em­ploy­ment data and run se­cu­rity checks.

The process - which will cost £65 for adults and £32.50 for chil­dren un­der the age of 16 - will op­er­ate on the ba­sis of a pre­sump­tion that ap­pli­ca­tions will be ac­cepted.

While stop­ping short of guar­an­tee­ing their fu­ture, Mr Raab said last week that it was "in­con­ceiv­able" that non-UK cit­i­zens would be asked to leave what­ever the out­come of cur­rent ne­go­ti­a­tions with the EU.

Im­mi­gra­tion min­is­ter Caro­line Nokes said the pi­lot was another step in mak­ing it easy for EU na­tion­als to ob­tain set­tled sta­tus - en­abling them to live and work in the UK on the same terms as now.

"From to­day, we are invit­ing a small group of EU cit­i­zens to make an ap­pli­ca­tion to se­cure their sta­tus," she said. "We will use their feed­back to make any nec­es­sary ad­just­ments ahead of the scheme be­ing fully opened."

The scheme is due to fully open on 30 March, 2019, with set­tled sta­tus granted to EU na­tion­als who have lived in the UK for five years – un­less they have se­ri­ous crim­i­nal con­vic­tions or for se­cu­rity rea­sons.

Those who are res­i­dent in the UK by 31 De­cem­ber 2020 but who have not lived in the UK for five years will get pre-set­tled sta­tus which al­lows them to live and work in the UK un­til they reach the five year mark and can claim set­tled sta­tus.

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