The Government has been keen to encourage EU nationals to wait for the new settled status scheme to be rolled out to them, and the employer toolkit repeatedly emphasises ‘don’t rush, you have until 30 June 2021 to apply.’
However, anyone with evidence that they have already been exercising EU Treaty rights in the UK for over five years and who wishes to naturalise as a British citizen, would be well advised to consider acting now. This is because the new Settlement Scheme does not allow for the backdating of indefinite leave to remain. Those who obtain this status under the new scheme, will then need to wait for at least 12 months before they can apply for naturalisation (unless married to a British national). However, it is possible to apply for a permanent residence card now and have this backdated, allowing a naturalisation application to be made before we leave the EU.