EU to offer its expats in UK cover for settled status fee

Published:  24 Jan at 6 PM
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EU expats living in the UK can expect the UK’s fee for settled status application to be covered by Brussels.

Following a threat by the Home Office to charge EU nationals a £72 fee for their applications for settled status, the European Union appears to have decided it will pick up the tag. To qualify for indefinite leave to remain in the UK post-Brexit, EU citizens will need to have proof of five years’ residency as well as taking and passing a criminal record test.

EU Commission president Jean-Claude Juncker has expressed his sympathy for EU citizens wishing to stay on in the UK after March 2019, and is suggesting application fees will be covered should the UK not make a similarly generous offer. Although there’s no doubt his concern and wish to help is genuine, he recognises Brussels may need to find a way to fund the costs via the EU budget.

The offer comes after a November warning to David Davis from the EU’s Brexit co-ordinator Guy Verhofstadt that a family of five would need to find £360 to ensure they could stay in the UK once Brexit is finalised, This, he said, would be a damaging amount of money to find for those on lower incomes. Full details of the UK’s online application process are about to be released, with lawmakers reporting the fees will cost no more than a passport.

EU nationals who’ve already applied and been granted permanent residency are not expected to have to pay again for settled status and rejected applicants will be allowed to appeal, with the Home Office stating its default position is now in favour of granting settled status. However, the Home Office is said to be struggling to recruit a large number of extra immigration officials to deal with the expected rush, with at least 500 needed by April this year. Given the ministry’s dismal reputation to date, it’s to be hoped its human resources department is looking to hire higher quality staff than in former times.
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