Less than 100 days until the Settled Status deadline for EU Citizens. What is changing on 1 July 2021?
First published in March 2021.
You will know about the 30 June 2021 deadline and the implications for EU citizens of not having a valid immigration status from 1 July 2021 but do you know what is actually changing on that day?
1. Everyone will need permission to live, work or study in the UK
Everyone that is, except British, Irish and some Commonwealth citizens. But everyone else will need it – whether you have lived here for decades, or whether you are planning to come to the UK for the first time at some point.
2. A new digital-only immigration status
Until 30 June 2021, we can show our passport as proof of our rights but from 1 July 2021, proving pre-settled or settled status will be digital only and involve a complex set of steps, which will be extremely difficult for many people. Which is why we campaigned for a physical proof of status for all and launched legal action.
3. Life gets complicated for those who have applied but are waiting
Many people have already applied for pre-settled or settled status, but are still waiting for a decision. Many are waiting weeks, months or even longer than a year. We receive regular emails of people feeling anxious, panicked, in limbo because their life is on hold while they wait.
The Government has not been clear on exactly how things will work for those who have applied but not yet received their status by 30 June 2021. Without a grant of status, someone cannot generate a ‘share code’ to prove their rights.
So how will they be able to move and rent a new flat? How will they be able to take on a new job? How will they prove they can study without having to pay really expensive international fees?
4. Life becomes really difficult for those who have not applied yet
For those who could not submit an application in time, or did not know they had to, life will become very difficult – but possibly not straight away. However, the problems will start the first time they try to move house. Or change jobs. Or open or switch their bank account. Or receive some hospital treatment. Or receive housing assistance, or universal credit. They’ll be asked to prove their status, and they will not be able to do so.
Firstly, the person or organisation checking their status will refuse them their rental, job, bank account, hospital treatment, housing or benefits.
Secondly, it’s possible that the Home Office could be informed. If the Home Office doesn’t consider there’s a ‘reasonable ground’ to make a late application, then removal from the UK becomes likely.
Thirdly, even if it is possible to make a late application, it could take months to be granted status – and during all this time there’ll be no right to rent, work, or have any help from the state.
This is exactly what happened to victims of the Windrush scandal.
5. Those with pre-settled status have an insecure status
There are many problems with pre-settled status.
It expires, and failure to apply for full settled status before expiry means automatic loss of status. In which case the person faces all the same consequences as someone who didn’t apply in time, as described above.
It does not entitle people to universal credit if they fall on hard times (they may be able to get help via other, more complex ways – but pre-settled status itself does not entitle people to universal credit).
Confusing calculations of absences mean that some people might actually be rejected for full settled status even if they apply in time, and there will be no way of fixing that retrospectively.
Out of the UK with pre-settled status? Check how your absences from the UK may affect your ability to achieve Settled Status: https://t3m-settledstatus-absences.paperform.co
6. Exercising your Family reunion rights
The Withdrawal Agreement protects the right to be joined by certain family members – at any time. This includes spouses and partners (as long as they were your spouse/partner before 31 December 2020), dependent parents, grandparents, children and grandchildren.
After 1 July 2021, however, this becomes a lot more difficult in practice. If the sponsoring person hasn’t been granted status yet (even if they’ve applied), then the joining family member can’t put in an application to the EU Settlement Scheme.
Before 30 June 2021, parents and grandparents are ‘assumed’ to be dependent, but from 1 July 2021, dependency has to be proved, which is a far more difficult process. Moving your widowed mum from Lisbon to London will become very much harder than from Edinburgh to Eastbourne, despite the Withdrawal Agreement promises.
▫ Monique Hawkins, Policy and Research officer at the3million.
▫ The3million, the largest group of EU citizens in the UK, with volunteers working on advocacy, policy, legal, media, social media, grassroots and events.
Did you know the3million is the leading non-profit
organisation of EU citizens in the UK? the3million is fully committed to continue to campaign for your right to live in the UK without worries or threat now and for years to come. We are actively working to inform politicians and influencers about these issues and find solutions which would work for all but we cannot do it without your support.
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[This piece was originally published in the3million newsletter and re-published in PMP Magazine on 25 March 2021, with the author’s consent. | The author writes in a personal capacity.]
(Cover: Shutterstock/Ascannio. / Licensed under a Creative Commons Attribution-ShareAlike 4.0 International License.)