Following our previous update on 21 March 2018 , some further clarification was provided by the government on 25 May 2018. In its response to the Home Affairs Select Committee’s report on the Home Office delivery of Brexit, the government provided further clarity in respect of the rights of EU citizens after Brexit.
Specifically it has confirmed:
- As previously advised, a new EU Exit Settlement Scheme will be launched by the end of 2018. Under the Scheme, EU applicants and their family members who have lawfully resided in the UK for at least five years will be granted indefinite leave to remain (ILR). The government had previously described it as a ‘new settled status’ and we are surprised that the government has opted to describe the new status as ILR, given that it will be a significantly enhanced version of the ILR currently granted to non-EU nationals;
- An example of one of the enhancements is that ILR granted under the Scheme will lapse after five years’ absence from the UK, not the usual two;
- A further example is that this ILR status, granted under UK law, will sit alongside free movement rights before exit and for the duration of the transition period;
- The full enjoyment of free movement rights include the ability to have direct family members join EU nationals in the UK, without having to show that they meet the domestic British Immigration Rules;
- For those EU citizens who have already acquired permanent residence (PR) and since left the UK, provided they have retained their PR status by returning to the UK at least every two years, they may apply for the new settled status (ILR) if they return to take up residence in the UK at any point prior to the end of the transitional period (31 December 2020);
- Any applicant whose application for ILR is initially rejected, will have the right to appeal the decision and may re-apply at any time before 30 June 2021;
- EU citizens living in the UK as students or self-sufficient people will not have to prove that they have held Comprehensive Sickness Insurance (CSI) in order to qualify for ILR. However, the government has clarified that any EU citizen travelling to the UK during the transition period and who is not ordinarily resident in the UK, will continue not to be eligible for NHS-funded care and will need to have the necessary CSI, such as a European Health Insurance Card or an SI form.