In the event of a no-deal Brexit, EU nationals already in the UK before Brexit day will have until 31 December 2020 to apply under the EU Settlement Scheme. However, the Government has recently been encouraging people to apply as soon as possible.

On 12 September, Brandon Lewis, Minister of State for the Home Office, stated that over 1.5 million applications have now been made to the EU settlement scheme. This announcement accompanied the release of official (albeit “experimental”) statistics regarding the scheme.

As of 31 August 2019, over 1.3 million (1,339,600) EU citizens and their families had applied for settled or pre-settled status under the EU Settlement Scheme. Of these, 1,151,000 applications had been concluded, with 62% of those being granted settled status and 37% pre-settled status. 0.5% were deemed as having “other outcomes”, which includes any outcome that did not result in a grant of leave because the application was withdrawn by the applicant, was invalid as it did not include the required proof of identity and nationality or other mandatory information, was void because the applicant was ineligible to apply, for example because they were a British citizen, or was refused on eligibility or suitability grounds. The statistics reveal that there was one refusal on suitability grounds, which we presume means the applicant was refused due to serious criminality.

Interestingly, the EEA nationalities with the highest number of applications received were from Polish (240,300), Romanian (187,600) and Italian (150,800) nationals. Approximately 66,700 applications were also received from family members who are nationals of non-EEA countries.

Many people are complaining that the app used to complete the ID check part of the application is only available on Android devices. The Government has clarified: “Currently, Apple iPhone users are not able to use their device to self-verify their identity using the app because it is the present policy of Apple not to allow any third party access to the iPhone ‘ID chip’. However, the app will be available on Apple devices by October.”

There have recently been various press reports of famous Europeans who have lived in the UK for many years being granted pre-settled, rather than settled status. This led to the Home Office releasing not only a “rebuttal and clarifications” document, but also to Brandon Lewis writing to The Sun, stating “nobody has been granted pre-settled status without first being given the chance to show they qualify for settled status”.

Whilst the automated checks made against an applicant’s National Insurance number work well in many cases, applicants should be aware that if they disagree with the proposed outcome after the check, they do not have to accept this and instead have the option to scan documents to the Home Office to support their application. 

This article is from the September 2019 issue of Employment and Immigration Law Update, our monthly newsletter for HR professionals.