UK scraps 'settled status' fee for EU expats

Theresa May announces that the UK Government's 'Settled Status" scheme will waive the £65 fee charged under the pilot scheme. After the 30th of March the scheme will go live allowing EU residents to confirm their UK status in light of Brexit.

EU and UK flag
Prime Minister Theresa May has scrapped the £65 registration fee for the estimated 3.5 million EU citizens currently in the UK who will want to stay in the country after Brexit.

'Settled Status' fee designed for all EU nationals to confirm status

The surprise announcement came on the day the latest pilot phase of the 'Settled Status' policy - enabling people to apply online or using a smartphone app, but only on an Android phone - was rolled out. Full introduction of the scheme is due on March 30.Mrs May told the House of Commons on Monday, "The next phase of testing of the scheme for EU nationals to confirm their status has launched today."And having listened to concerns from members and organisations like the3million group, I can confirm today that when we roll out the scheme in full on the March 30, the government will waive the application fee, so that there is no financial barrier for any EU nationals who wish to stay. Anyone who has, or will, apply during the pilot phase will have their fee reimbursed."

Business groups welcome UK government's decision to waive fee

Business groups welcomed the government's change of heart, particularly in the hospitality industry where about a quarter of the two million workforce comes from continental EU nations.The Settled Status scheme essentially means that EU nationals who have lived in Britain for at least five years by Brexit day can apply to stay indefinitely. Those in the UK on March 29 but who do not meet the five-year residential threshold can apply for 'pre-settled status' and will be allowed to remain in the UK until they have spent five years in the UK when they will be entitled to full Settled Status.Applicants have to prove their identity, declare any criminal convictions and upload a facial photograph. Government officials check employment and benefits data to confirm proof of residence, while all applications are run through UK criminality and security databases.

£65 fee will still have to be paid up to March 29 after which it will be reimbursed

The £65 fee (£32.50 for children) will still have to be paid up to March 29, after which it will be reimbursed.Citizens from the Republic of Ireland do not have to apply for Settled Status as their rights are guaranteed under the Common Travel Area between Ireland and the UK established in 1923. Additionally, other EU nationals who have already been granted indefinite leave to enter or remain in the UK are also exempt from the scheme, but EU citizens who only have a permanent residence document will still need to apply.Applicants from Switzerland and the EFTA nations of Iceland, Liechtenstein and Norway will also be entitled to apply for Settled Status but will not be allowed to do so until after March 30.
Read more on the Government's official communications regarding 'Settled Status' here.

'Settled Status' scheme applies to EU nationals and goes live after March 30

The scheme will remain open to people who arrive in the UK before December 31 2020, assuming the UK leaves the EU with a formal withdrawal agreement in place. In the event of a no-deal Brexit, only those in the country by March 29 this year will be eligible.Those granted Settled Status will be entitled to remain in the UK and have the same access to work, education, benefits and public services as they enjoy now. They will also be entitled to bring to the UK 'close family members', defined as spouses, civil partners and durable partners, dependent children and grandchildren and dependent parents and grandparents.A Home Office spokesman said, "We are pleased with how the app has performed in the pilot phase and we are monitoring applicant feedback very closely, including reviews on the Google play store."We also continue to engage with Apple regarding the app functionality on iOS devices."Once the scheme is fully open by March 30, alternatives to the ID Document Check app will include the applicant posting their identity document to the Home Office to be checked and returned to them quickly, or visiting a local 'chip check' service run by a local authority or other provider."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.