Employment and Immigration Law Update – Settled Status Scheme update
28 February 2020
Overall, the total number of applications received up to 31 January 2020 was more than
3.1 million (3,107,900). The total number of applications that have been concluded, as of 31 January 2020, was over 2.7 million (2,730,200). Of these, 58% were granted settled status, 41% were granted pre-settled status, and seven applications were refused on suitability grounds.
Quarterly statistics for the period 28 August to 31 December 2019 have now been released. These contain a more detailed picture of applications.
The top five nationalities: Polish (512,310); Romanian (435,690); Italian (290,990); Portuguese (231,130); and Spanish (171,260) combined represent three of every five applications received. Polish nationals are generally receiving settled status (82%), whereas Romanian nationals are the least likely to be granted settled status (36%). This probably reflects the shorter period during which Romanian nationals have been able to move freely to the UK. Eligible non-EEA nationals (i.e. who have EU family members) are generally receiving pre-settled status (64%), rather than settled (34%).
The Home Office believes that there is still a particularly large number of Polish nationals resident in the UK, who need to apply and we understand efforts are being made to target them, for example through liaison with local Polish consulate offices.
At a recent meeting we raised with the Home Office our concerns that there are a lot of other people who do not appreciate an application is required. For example, those who have permanent residence are still required to apply under the scheme. Also many parents do not realise they need to make applications for their children. We understand efforts are being made to encourage schools to highlight this point to parents of their pupils.
Digital status under the scheme is linked to the individual’s passport. The letter of grant notes that if the individual’s details change, for example their passport is updated, the individual needs to inform the Home Office. We understand that at present, whilst the notification is made online, the Home Office is then requiring that the original passport is posted to them. It is unclear why the passport check at this stage cannot be complete through the app, in the same way as when applying for pre-settled or settled status. We understand there are also then delays in the individual’s status being linked to the new passport details.
The Home Office is aware of the issue, but does not seem to be in any rush to resolve it. Their position is that there is no need to provide updated ID documents until free movement ends on 31 December 2020 and so “applicants may choose to wait for the fully digital process to be available before updating their ID document information while in the short term continuing to access their digital status using their existing document number”.
This issue has led to renewed calls for a physical document to be issued, but the Government is adamant it will not do so as it believes the digital system is more secure.
This article is from the February 2020 issue of Employment and Immigration Law Update, our monthly newsletter for HR professionals. To download the latest issue, please visit the newsletter section of our website. For further information please contact a member of Birketts’ Immigration Team.
The content of this article is for general information only. It is not, and should not be taken as, legal advice. If you require any further information in relation to this article please contact the author in the first instance. Law covered as at February 2020.