Working from UKVI information and the Draft Withdrawal Agreement here is where we are – although be aware ‘nothing is agreed until everything is agreed’:
- The date the UK leaves the EU is 29 March 2019; the end of the implementation/transition period is 31 December 2020 but it will only be mandatory to have applied for either settled or temporary residence status (or “pre-settled status”) from 1 July 2012 (the application process being extended until 30 June 2021).
- Those arriving before 29 March 2019 can continue to accumulate 5 years’ lawful residence; if they reach the 5-year point before 31 December 2020 they can apply for settled status; if they do not, they should apply for temporary residence permit before that date (although the application process will remain open until 30 June 2021 “to give everyone time to apply” – a further 1-year extension is possible)
- Those arriving on or after 29 March 2019 and before 31 December 2020 must register as temporary residents after 3 months; however, their status entitlements will be equal to those arriving prior to that date as it was agreed that free movement continues to apply for the duration of the implementation period.
- Direct family members (spouses, civil and unmarried partners, dependent children and grandchildren, and dependent parents and grandparents) of those resident on 31 December 2020 will be permitted to join their EU national family member in the UK after that date, so long as the family relationship existed on that date; extended family members will need to reside here on 31 December 2020 to be permitted to remain on that basis
- The application process for settled status is intended to open in autumn 2018. Applications by those holding documents certifying permanent residence will be free of charge and merely subjected to identity- criminality- and ongoing residence checks; whereas for those without the fee will not exceed that of a UK passport (currently £75.50 for online applications, £85 postal – see here)
- Clients without an existing PR document should be advised to continue exercise of treaty rights or, where they are not, to start doing so. As a UK concession, the requirement for students and the self-sufficient to hold/have held comprehensive sickness insurance will fall away for settled status applications
- Bearing in mind the above two points, it may be advisable for those with straightforward applications for a document certifying permanent residence to apply as soon as possible to avoid the later applications bottleneck; whereas for those whose PR application would be likely to fail only for reasons the applicant held no comprehensive sickness insurance, it may be preferable to wait until the settled status application process becomes available.
- Certificates of application are to be issued immediately after application
- In relation to refusals, Art 17.1(r) of the Draft Withdrawal Agreement states “the applicant shall have access to judicial and, where appropriate, administrative redress procedures in the host State against any decision refusing to grant the residence status. The redress procedures shall allow for an examination of the legality of the decision, as well as of the facts and circumstances on which the proposed decision is based. They shall ensure that the decision is not disproportionate.” Art 17.3 states that pending final outcome of such an appeal, all rights continue.
- EU citizens with settled status or temporary permission to stay will have the same access as they currently do to healthcare, pensions and other benefits in the UK. Pension entitlements from contributions in the UK will continue, including for those subsequently relocating abroad.
- Settled status ends after 5 years’ absence from the UK or it can be revoked for reasons of criminality or a fraudulent application.
Negotiations with the other three EEA states and Switzerland are aimed at achieving the same rules for movement of citizens between them and the UK. Clearly, Irish citizens will continue to be covered by the Common Travel Area and thus will not need to apply for settled status to be considered as settled in the UK.