The Guardian reports that Mr Lewis informed peers that the online the application process for Settled Status would go live in the second half of 2018.
The immigration minister also stated that the increasing number of EU nationals being deported from the UK since the EU referendum in June 2016 was “…good news for the British public because we should be doing everything to remove foreign national offenders”.
He added that a court case this week would clarify the legality of deportation of rough sleepers who are EU nationals. We will keep you up to date with this as news breaks.
What we know about the Settled Status process is as follows:
- To qualify for Settled Status, EEA nationals will need to demonstrate they have been living continuously in the UK for five years or more and pass a criminal record test.
- The application fee for Settled Status will be no more than the current fee for a British Passport – currently around £72.
- Those who have already applied successfully for an EU permanent residence Card will not have to pay to have their status converted to Settled Status.
- The application form will be between 6-8 pages long instead of the current 85-pages.
- Those exercising their EU Treaty Rights as a student or self-employed will not have to prove they have had Comprehensive Sickness Insurance.
- A decision should be provided within two weeks of the online application.
- The default position will be to grant Settled Status, with refusals mainly restricted to the applicant failing to pass the criminal record check or providing fraudulent information.
- Rejected applications will have a right of appeal, with the final decision to be taken by the UK courts. The UK courts will follow EU case law prior to Brexit and will consider the views of the European Court of Justice on citizens’ rights for up to eight years after Britain formally leaves the bloc.
Too good to be true?
Mr Lewis’s comments sound incredibly positive; however, is the Home Office truly ready to process such a large number of applicants? It was recently reported that the department was struggling to recruit enough caseworkers as “no one wants to live inSheffield"
Whether such ambitious promises can be fulfilled remains to be seen.
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