EU expats in UK in trial applications to stay after Brexit

Published:  29 Aug at 6 PM
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Whilst UK expats in EU member states still fear for their rights to remain, EU citizens in the UK are starting their 'settled status' applications.

A Home Office trial of the ‘settled status’ post-Brexit settlement given to EU citizens living and working in the UK is now underway in the north-west, with NHS workers as well as students and staff from Liverpool University invited to apply. The trial is expected to take several months, and the results are due to be announced in time for a full roll-out of the process in late December. Some 4,000 individuals are expected to register for the trial, with government hoping it will clarify any kinks in the process.

The ‘settled status’ system was the result of chaos caused by an inundation of applicants for permanent residency which began after the result of the Brexit referendum was announced. Immediately, EU expats who’d settled long-term in the UK rushed to obtain permanent residency, but the arduous, expensive process caused a huge backlog of applications and forced Theresa May to come up with an alternative. The new ‘settled status’ applies to citizens of EU member states who’ve lived in the UK for five years or more, and gives them the right to bring in their families as well as having access to social security benefits including use of the NHS.

Bureaucratic requirements are relatively straightforward, especially when compared with the previous permanent residency process, and include proof of identity, a declaration of any criminal convictions and the uploading of a single facial photo. For EU citizens who arrive for the first time before the end of December 2020, a pre-settled status visa will be made available and updated to full settled status after five years’ residency. According to the Home Office, its intention is to make the process straightforward and user-friendly, adding the scheme will be fully in place by the end of March next year.

It’s also advising EU expats their rights will stay the same until the end of the Brexit transition period, suggesting there’s no need to rush to apply. Presumably, the advice has been given in order to hopefully avoid another paperwork inundation for stressed-out Home Office workers. In the meantime, UK citizens living and working in the remaining 27 EU member states are increasingly angry at May’s ignoring of their situations whilst cuddling up to EU expats in the UK.
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