Immigration solicitors London confirm that thousands of applications made by EU citizens living in the UK for the EU settlement scheme have been unsuccessful, where over 7500 people have not been given “settled status” or temporary leave to remain known as “pre-settled status.” This has raised concerns by immigration lawyers and campaigners about EU citizens alongside their families, who could be deported from the UK if they do not manage to gain some kind of immigration status through the scheme before the deadline of December 31st 2020.
EU and EEA citizens who live in the UK have been applying to the scheme since its launch earlier in 2019 and Home Office records show that over 1.5 million applications have applied through the scheme. Once an application is successful and an EU citizen has gained either “settled” or “pre-settled” status they can use the NHS, study, access public funds, benefits, travel in and out of the UK and continue to live there as they have been doing before Brexit. However in order to gain these rights for “settled status,” they need to show physical residence in the UK for at least 5 years, and for “pre-settled status” for a period for less than 5 years, and these applications should be made prior to the end of the transitional period of 31st December 2020.
Out of the 1.5 million applications that were filed, around 60% were granted settled status and around 40% were granted pre-settled status. Moreover, with reference to the 7500 or so applications that have been rejected, no information has been provided by the Home Office as to why this was, but possible reasons could be because some were considered unsuitable due to serious criminal convictions, and others because of lack of proof of identity or physical residence in the UK.
The EU Settlement Scheme was showcased by Teresa May’s Home Office minister Sajid Javid, to be a simple process but this has been far from the reality for many applicants. TV and radio adverts in the UK that were emphasising the simplicity of applying through the scheme have been deemed inaccurate, where many applicants have found out first hand that they need many more documents than just an EU passport or ID card to apply.
With an estimated 3.6 million citizens living in the UK for 2018 and most likely a higher number now, figures show that only about a 3rd of the EU population in the UK has applied to the scheme. Immigration solicitors UK are concerned that many EU citizens may miss the boat and fail to apply through the scheme on time where they will then face the possibility of deportation from the country, thus creating another possible Windrush situation.
With just two weeks to go, there are still no guarantees on how Brexit will turn out and what the fate will be for EU citizens living in the UK and their British counterparts living on the continent. However, we advise that if you are in the UK and have an EU passport, that you do not hesitate or waste any more time and make your ESS application as soon as you can. Our team of immigration lawyers have decades of experience in dealing with the Home Office and can handle this stressful process for you so you won’t have to personally deal with it. We can also discuss your immigration options with you in the light of Brexit, deal or no-deal.
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