Many EU citizens living in the UK seem very worried about Brexit and the fact that they’ll have to apply to stay here but, having looked into the detail of the EU Settlement Scheme, it does appear to be pretty straightforward and that most applications will be granted within a couple of weeks.
There’s also no hurry because the scheme won’t be fully functioning until the end of March 2019 and people will have a full two years to apply. Those who’ve been in the UK less than five years will need Pre Settled Status and anyone who’s been here longer than that will need Settled Status. For more detailed information, visit our Settled Status pages and log on to the forum for details of when our guide will be available.
It’s natural for EU nationals to feel unsettled (excuse the pun) by the Settlement Scheme because they’re being asked to apply for the right to stay in the UK, and it’s a daunting prospect that there’s a chance their application will be turned down. However Sajid Javid, The Home Secretary, has said the Government’s default position will be to grant rather than refuse applications, and that the process will be as simple as you can reasonably expect. Apparently there will also be help available, on the phone or in person, for people who need help with translation or don’t have access to computers.
The main issue with the EU Settlement Scheme seems to be raising awareness about it, and the fact that it will be compulsory for EU citizens if they want to remain in the UK. The Government has come under fire for focusing its awareness campaign online and in particular on social media, with the main argument being that this approach won’t reach migrant workers who don’t use the internet. The next few months will be very telling as to whether the campaign moves in a different direction.
The EU settlement scheme, for Pre Settled and Settled Status applications, is due to open at the end of this year and be fully functional by 31st March 2019, so watch this space for more help in decoding the application process.