Settled status trial for EU staff in universities and the NHS to open in November

EU staff in the higher education and healthcare sectors will be able to apply for “settled status” taking part in the testing of the online application system from November. The settled status scheme was designed to recognise the rights of EU nationals in the UK after Brexit. EU nationals will have to apply between 30 March 2019 and 30 June 2021.

The testing of the app that processes the applications is ongoing. The first pilot phase, which started on August 28, involved 12 NHS Trusts and 3 universities in Liverpool. EU staff and students were invited to apply on a voluntary basis. The live trial allowed to test and improve the system.

Out of 4,000 eligible EU citizens, 650 applications were completed by October 8, according to a letter from the Home Office to the House of Commons Home Affairs Committee. All of them were accepted.

“Around 95% of applicants who provided customer feedback found the application process easy to complete, taking on average 15-20 minutes,” says the letter. 90% said that the information provided in advance helped them prepare and feel reassured, it continues. A “high proportion” of applicants could prove their residence in the UK based on the automated matching of HM Revenue & Customs (HMRC) data, without having to provide further evidence.

Following the testing, some adjustments were made to the app with regard to the matching of data, the terminology used in the application process, and the verification of the applicant’s email address.

The second pilot phase will start on November 1 and run until December 21. The testing will involve more organisations in the education, health and social care sectors across the UK. It will also include children looked after by local authorities in Kent, Lincolnshire and Sheffield County Councils, and the London boroughs of Haringay and Waltham Forest.

Individuals who receive assistance through 7 community organisations (Ashiana Sheffield, Coram Children’s Legal Centre, East European Resource Centre, Rights of Women, St Vincent Support Centre, The Cardinal Hume Centre, and The Roma Support Group) will be able to apply too.

This is the schedule:

  • From November 1, in addition to the organisations involved in the first phase, EU staff from 3 NHS Trusts in Greater Manchester will be eligible to apply
  • From November 15, the system will be open to EU nationals in the higher education sector across the UK and to vulnerable individuals
  • From November 29, EU staff in the health and social care sectors across the UK will be able to apply.

The full list of institutions and organisations participating in this phase is available here. All eligible staff will be contacted by their employers, according to an email sent by the Home Office to EU nationals who registered for updates. “You don’t need to do anything for now,” says the email message. The EU settlement scheme will open fully on 30 March 2019, the day after Brexit.

What is the “EU settlement scheme”

An estimated 3.8 million EU nationals living in the UK will have to apply for the “EU settlement scheme” by 30 June 2021. The scheme was designed to grant EU nationals a new immigration status after Brexit. It replaces, with some changes, the “permanent residence” system currently applicable under EU rules.

As the UK leaves the EU, the “settled status” (called EU settlement scheme in the UK) was agreed by the UK and the EU as part of the draft withdrawal agreement, so it is contingent to a Brexit deal. Calls are mounting to retain this part of the agreement, regardless of the outcomes of the Brexit negotiations.

The British Prime Minister recently said that the UK will unilaterally guarantee the rights of EU nationals in the country in the event of no deal. In this case, the UK is expected to confirm the introduction of the settled status, but this has not been officially confirmed. A long-awaited technical notice providing further details on how the UK government intends to deal with the status of EU nationals in the UK and British citizens living in the EU in the event of no deal Brexit has yet to be published.

More details about the settled status on GOV.UK

 

Claudia Delpero © all rights reserved.
Photo via Pixabay.

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