The deadline for EU citizens' applications for settled status to enable them to live, work, receive benefits and study legally in the UK, is days away. The period of grace, extended on the UK's exit from the European Union, ends on 30 June 2021, after which only "good reasons" will excuse the failure to apply. However, The Home Office is intending to be flexible and pragmatic and give applicants the benefit of the doubt.
Both the Home Office and The Office for National Statistics has found that there are indications that there are far more EU citizens in the UK than previous estimates suggested and by May 2021 The Home Office had received 5.6 million applications for settled status, considerably more than expected. However, anecdotal information indicates that many EU citizens have left the UK and some economists suggest that this could have a significant impact on future growth in the UK as several sectors of the economy are reporting considerable difficulties in recruitment. The discrepancy means that the UK immigration policy and the way the labour market is viewed may have to be re-visited.
Fernanda Stefani, a consultant solicitor advocate, commented "Anyone applying for settled status at the last minute should ensure they provide the necessary documents and information in order to avoid their application being rejected. It is important to ensure a timely and accurate application to avoid battling through a late application."
Giambrone's highly experienced immigration lawyers can oversee the entire application. Our lawyers will review your application in meticulous detail and every aspect of your supporting documentation will be closely examined to ensure your application does not fail due to an avoidable error. Our lawyers are all multi-lingual and you can be assured that they will be able to answer all your queries and explain the entire process to avoid misunderstandings.
There is concern that individuals that fall into a "hard to reach" categories such as the infirm elderly in care homes, victims of domestic abuse, children in care and those with mental health issues will not apply and at a later stage will not be able to access medical assistance, benefits, education or the ability to work.
It is of particular importance to ensure that children are included in settled status applications as the impact of omitting a child is often not felt for some years. The example of the Windrush generation demonstrates this where adults born in the UK found that they had to find difficult to retrieve evidence to prove their status in order to remain in the UK. The Migration Observatory based at Oxford University, reports that there are in excess of 900,000 children of EU citizens living in the UK with 239,000 of them having been born in the UK. A considerable number may not be British citizens, their parents and guardians may be unaware that the children must also apply for settled status.
If a parent or guardian is making their own application they can link applications for all of the children they are legally responsible for, who are eligible to apply under the EU Settlement Scheme. Once an application has been accepted, the option to take up dual citizenship which provides the full range of entitlements accorded to any citizen.
Whilst any EU citizen living in the UK who wishes to remain is strongly advised to make an application before the 30 June 2021 deadline, Keven Foster, Parliamentary Under-Secretary of State for Immigration and Future Borders commented "anyone whose application was not concluded by next week's deadline would not lose out, as their rights were protected in law." He further added, "immigration enforcement officials would begin issuing 28-day notices to people advising them to apply for settled status, but there is an indefinite period for people with reasonable grounds for not applying previously."
Mr Foster reiterated the sentiment when speaking to the House of Lords European Affairs Committee this week when he said: "I want to get as many people through the door before the 30th [of June] as possible."
If you would like assistance to make an application for settled status either before or after the 30 June 2021 deadline, Giambrone's immigration lawyers can confidentially ensure that your application will proceed trouble-free.
The content of this article is intended to provide a general guide to the subject matter. Specialist advice should be sought about your specific circumstances.