Most EU citizens and their family members living in the UK must apply for a new status to remain in the UK after Brexit - this is called settled status. The application process went live on 29 March 2019. If EU citizens or their family members do not have a legal basis to remain in the UK after 31st December 2020, they will be in the UK unlawfully and face problems with, for example, applying for jobs, accessing the NHS and renting homes.
Settled, an independent charity set up to provide information and guidance for vulnerable EU citizens, has produced some useful information about the status and how to acquire it on this page . Applicants with a criminal record, a complicated life story or a low English proficiency should seek advice before applying – there are several organisations you can contact for free advice, including Here for Good.
As of the end of February 2020, EU citizens and their family members have made over 3.3 million applications for a new status under the government’s scheme. However, some of those are double-counted applications (for example a holder of pre-settled status applying for settled status once becoming eligible). Also, over 40% of applications are resulting in a temporary status ('pre-settled status') which means these citizens will need to re-apply within five years for a permanent status. Finally, over 10% of applications have not yet received a decision at all.
the3million have grave concerns about those EU citizens who miss out on acquiring legal status to stay in the UK. Particularly the most vulnerable in our society. We are campaigning hard to make changes to law and policy to try and protect EU citizens’ rights from the impact of Brexit.
We are campaigning for a legal status to be granted automatically to EU citizens and their families. This was promised by the current Prime Minister on 1 June 2016. He said that "there would be no change for EU citizens".
Practically, this means the Government’s current scheme should be converted into a simple registration system confirming the new status automatically granted to EU citizens. This will mean that people who do not apply will not become unlawful in the UK.
Those who acquire a status via the settled status scheme will not receive a physical document. We are campaigning for people to be given a physical document to prevent discrimination, instead of an intangible digital token.
We will and must do everything we can to avoid becoming the next Windrush scandal!