According to the latest statistics released by the Home Office, more than 2.7m (2,756,100) applications for settled and pre-settled status had been made by 31 December 2019. Of these, 2,460,100 have been decided. 55% were granted settled status, 41% pre-settled status and there were six refusals on suitability grounds.
We believe that a significant proportion of the 296,000 undecided applications were made by non-EU family members. The Home Office is refusing to provide an update on how long these applications have been outstanding, or when applicants can expect a decision.
Research conducted in the East of England on behalf of the UK in a Changing Europe found that the number of applications each month has been dropping since 31 October 2019. Concerns remain that many EU nationals have yet to apply.
We continue to meet EU nationals who wrongly believe that if they hold a permanent residence card, they do not need to apply for settled status. Unless these individuals chose to apply for naturalisation as British citizens, the permanent residence card is not sufficient and they will need to convert this to settled status.
The fact that competent professionals, with fluent English, a long history of UK employment and access to all the required technology do not appreciate they need to apply, suggests that something is clearly wrong with the Government’s communications strategy.
The Government has come under increasing pressure, both at home and abroad, to say whether or not they would deport EU nationals who do not obtain pre-settled or settled status by the deadline. The Home Office has reiterated that “where people have reasonable grounds for missing the original deadline, they will be given a further opportunity to apply.” However, they stopped short of saying publicly whether or not deportations would be made.
This article is from the January 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 Law 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 January 2020.