The Minister of State for Immigration, Brandon Lewis, says that to obtain a document which would certify settled status, EEA citizens will complete an online form with up to eight questions.
The application will cost up to £72 and the decision will be issued within two weeks. This simple online application will go live in the second half of 2018. Those who wish to apply will have to demonstrate five years’ continuous residence and pass a criminal record test.
Could it be really this simple? Unlikely… One cannot see how the current application with the infamous 85 pages could be condensed to six to eight questions.
We have not been informed what documents applicants will need to provide and what the questions will ask. Will the amount of documents supporting the application have to compensate for the decreased number of questions applicants have to answer? Applicants will definitely be asked to provide an array of documents and every single one will have to be an original.
We frequently encounter applicants who are not able to either find or complete the online application. Many still prefer the paper form.
Lastly, the promised time scale of a decision in two weeks seems out of this world. How will the Home Office be able to organise the logistics once the application become compulsory, when at the present they are currently battling a massive backlog of applications that applicants submit of their own volition?
The good news, which we have chosen to believe, is that those who have already successfully applied for permanent residence would not be charged a further fee when they are asked to convert to ‘settled status’. Rejected applicants will be given the right of appeal.
Students and self-sufficient EEA citizens will not be required to prove that they have a comprehensive sickness insurance.