'Settled status' process for EU nationals to be improved

The UK government's EU Settlement Scheme, which was designed to allow more than three million EU nationals to remain in the UK post-Brexit, is to undergo changes.

'Settled status' process for EU nationals to be improved
Changes are to be made to streamline the government's EU Settlement Scheme - the post-Brexit system designed to allow more than three million EU nationals to remain in the UK.Immigration Minister Caroline Nokes said in a letter to the Commons Home Affairs Committee that an initial test run of the scheme involving European nationals living, working or studying in NW England had produced a positive feedback.

Post-Brexit 'settled status'

More than 90 per cent of 650 applicants who had so far registered had found the process easy to complete, taking between 15-20 minutes to complete.The trial, launched at the end of August, was aimed at enabling 4,000 Europeans working or studying at 12 NHS trusts in NW England, plus EU students and staff at three Liverpool universities, to apply for post-Brexit 'settled status'.Applicants have been required to attend an appointment with a Home Office representative who helped take them through the application process. However, when the scheme is launched nationally next year, people will be able to make applications online.

Who is entitled to apply?

The scheme is open to EU27 nationals who will have been in the UK for five years by the end of 2020. Those in the country who will not have five years' residence by then, can seek to stay until they have, when they will be entitled to seek settled status.Applications, which cost £65 for adults and £32.50 for children under the age of 16, involve people being required to prove their identity, declare any criminal convictions and upload a facial photograph.

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The Home Office checks employment and benefits data to confirm proof of residence, while all applications will be run through UK criminality and security databases.   
Ms Nokes said that, so far, 650 EU nationals had taken part in the trial, with 1,000 expected to have taken part when this first pilot project ends later this month. So far, nobody's application had been rejected, the letter said.

Will Home Office technology help millions?

However, the minister said that, as a result of the lessons learned from this first trial, the Home Office would be making "technical changes to improve the overall customer experience".These would include improvements to the data-matching capability to enable applications to be checked more efficiciently again Revenue and Customs records; simplification of the  terminology in application forms; and in the process for verifying applicants' email addresses.Responding to the letter, Yvette Cooper, who chairs the Home Affairs committee, said, “The government is right to pilot this important technology. We look forward to asking further questions about the progress the Home Office is making, as it still isn’t clear when they will have tested the entire process, nor how the system will work at scale.“This is, obviously, still a small-scale pilot. The committee’s biggest concerns about the scheme have been whether the Home Office has a smooth system that can work for millions of people at once, and also whether they will be able to reach everyone to make sure nobody loses their rights. We look forward to monitoring the process.”For related news and features, visit our International Assignments section.Relocate’s new Global Mobility Toolkit provides free information, practical advice and support for HR, global mobility managers and global teams operating overseas.Global Mobility Toolkit download factsheets resource centreAccess hundreds of global services and suppliers in our Online DirectoryClick to get to the Relocate Global Online DirectorySubscribe to Relocate Extra, our monthly newsletter, to get all of the international assignments and global mobility news.