New paper on administrative procedures for EU nationals living in the UK
A new technical paper sets out the administrative procedures after freedom of movement will end, which was one of the key issues in the 2016 UK referendum.
There are currently over 3 million EU nationals living in the UK.
The paper describes how the application process to get settled status will work, along with the criteria for eligibility. It promises a “streamlined”, “user-friendly” and “low-cost” (no more than a British passport) process.
Eligibility is based on article 16 of EU directive 2004/38, meaning five years of continuous and lawful residence as a worker, self-employed person, student, self-sufficient person, or family member thereof. Applicants will be asked to declare any criminal convictions and be checked against UK security databases.
Two-year grace period
There will be a two-year “grace” period after leaving the EU to make an application for settled status. EU citizens will get a statutory right of appeal, in line with their current rights through the free movement directive, if their application is unsuccessful.
The paper states that decisions will solely be based on the criteria set out in the withdrawal agreement, with no discretion for other reasons for refusal. The British government said it will not require EU citizens to have held comprehensive sickness insurance or to provide fingerprints.
The British government said it would not check that comprehensive sickness insurance has been held by those who are not economically active or are studying, or applying a genuine and effective work test. It will also not seek to account for undocumented periods where they are satisfied that, overall, the residence requirements have been met, meaning people will not have to account for every trip that they have taken in and out of the UK.
Applicants who are not yet able to prove the five years’ continuous residence necessary to obtain settled status, but who can prove that they were resident before the specified date, will be given temporary status. This will enable them to remain in the UK until they have built up five years’ continuous residence allowing them to apply for settled status.