EEA Settlement Scheme Update: The Facts and Figures So Far…

EEA Settlement Scheme Update: The Facts and Figures So Far…

Now that we are coming towards the end of ‘public beta phase’, the third instalment of the public service juggernaut, that is the piloting of the EU Settlement Scheme application process, it occurred to me that it was about time we had a roundup of the figures published thus far. We will also focus upon the most recent additions to ‘Appendix EU’, which itself is now firmly entrenched within the UK system – UK HC395: The Immigration Rules, and furthermore reflect on our own experiences, here at The Visa Office, of the system.
The public beta test phase of the scheme began on 21 January 2019 after two previous ‘private beta test phases’ which had very restricted access (the initial private beta test phase was opened on 28 August 2018 and the second private beta phase second phase ran from 1 November to 21 December 2018). This public phase has been open to resident EU citizens with a valid passport, and to their non-EU citizen family members with a valid BRP (biometric residence permit). The other essential requirement is that the applicants have access to an Android device so as to access the identification verification ‘EU: Exit’ app. However, not only is the ability to do this limited to only those who have a device which uses Android as its operating system, it is further limited by the fact that not even all Android devices are compatible either. You will need:

  • Android 6.0 or above (i.e. if you have a phone from the end of 2015 or before you will need to get a new one)
  • NFC (near field communication) i.e. the ability to make contactless payments with your phone
  • at least 135MB of storage space to install the app
  • to be connected to 3G/4G or Wi-Fi

If, the above requirements have not dented your resolve, then now it would appear is definitely the time to make an application due to the fact that the Home Office, within their Statement of Changes – claim that by the end of February 2019, they had received more than 150,000 applications under the scheme, of which 135,000 (nearly 90 per cent) had already been concluded. Of these concluded cases, 71 per cent were granted settled status, with the rest granted pre-settled status and none refused. What is more, 75 per cent of these applicants received their decision within three days and 80 per cent of those who provided feedback found the online application process easy, or fairly easy, to complete.

Once the public beta phase has runs its course on the 29th of March 2019, the Home Office intends to proceed with the full opening of the EU Settlement Scheme for resident EU citizens and their family members from 30 March 2019. A list of notable, but far from exhaustive, recent changes are as follows;

  • Family Permit: provision for a non-EEA/Swiss citizen, who is the family member of an EEA/Swiss citizen with status granted under the EU Settlement Scheme, to apply for an entry clearance i.e. from outside the UK, to join that EEA/Swiss citizen in the UK, or to accompany them here, whether for a short stay or to make an application under the scheme in the UK;
  • Based upon previous residence in the UK, EEA and Swiss citizens and certain family members (non-EEA will need a UK issued BRP) will be able to apply under the scheme from outside the UK, so that they can obtain status, without needing to travel here NB Applications made under Appendix EU from outside the UK shall take effect from 9th April 2019.
  • Provisions to be made in order to facilitate an Administrative Review of a decision under the scheme to be made outside the UK as well as within the UK.
  • The scheme will be open to family members of British citizens who were exercising their free movement rights under EU law before returning to the UK (‘Surinder Singh’cases)and the family members of certain dual British/EU citizens (Lounes cases) i.e. those who have naturalised but wish their European country of origin to be the focus of an application.
  • ‘Derivative right’ applications. These will be made on a paper application forms rather than through the online portal, as the applicant will need to provide additional information NB these will not take effect until 1 May 2019.
  • Residence in the Crown Dependencies (Guernsey, Jersey and the Isle of Man) will be counted as UK residence for the purposes of the scheme, consistent with the wider operation of the Common Travel Area;

EEA Settlement Scheme – First Steps

EEA Settlement Scheme – First Steps

Back in May I wrote a blog bemoaning the lack of a definitive process that would enable EEA nationals to cement their rights as individuals here in the UK. It would now appear to be the case that there is something further to report regarding this topic. Discernible, if somewhat tentative, efforts have been made towards implementing a system which would facilitate the switching of those Europeans here from The (EEA) Regulations to The (UK) Immigration Rules; thus regularising their UK immigration status in advance of ‘Brexit’ and subsequently affording them a formal, legalised security to their futures as well as a sense of belonging within a society, a basic human right that surely everybody should be entitled to.

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Visit Visas – Negotiating the ‘Labyrinth’

Visit Visas

As we are just emerging from the holiday season it occurred to me that it may be an appropriate moment to write about visit visas, both the nature of the beast and ways to go about taming it. This urge was borne to me by way of the recent reported difficulties within the media that internationally renowned musicians have had varying degrees of difficulty when trying to negotiate the UK immigration system, so that they may play at a variety of festivals and concerts.

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EU Settlement Scheme

In response to the proposed EU Settlement Scheme, I am penning this blog both  to recent enquiries which in essence incorporate the repeated concern: “I have just read that after March 2019 that our permanent residence certificates will not be valid any longer!!??” as well as a continuation of my previous blog – the lack of clarity as to exactly how European citizens will regularise their immigration status post-March 2019 remains.

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UK Spouse Visa Financial Requirement – UK Spouse Visa help?

UK spouse visa financial requirement

Spouse Visa UK, Fiancé  and un-married partner visa applications made under Appendix-FM of the Immigration Rules are made more complex by the Financial Requirement. The spousal route can be either ‘switched’ into from within the UK from another long-term route i.e. under Tier 2 sponsorship, or more commonly from our experience, from the applicant’s country of residence.

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Tier 2 Rule Changes April 2018 – General

Tier 2 General Visa Changes

Tier 2 Rule Changes April 2018 – The Tier 2 (General) is a category for migrant workers who hold an offer of a skilled job from a Tier 2 licensed employer. Up until now, students on a Tier 4 visa, a sizeable source of potential employment possibilities for UK businesses, would have had to wait until they have received their final results before attempting to switch to Tier 2. Some grace has now been granted by the Home Office insofar as students may now apply to switch from their studies as soon as they have completed their courses; this is more in line with those undertaking PhDs.

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Chronic Skills Shortage within the tech sector

Chronic Skills Shortage Within The Tech Sector

Within the ‘tech’ sector in the UK there continues to be what could be termed as a ‘chronic skills shortage’ of supply from the local labour market. This may come initially as a surprise to many, given that this sector has contributed more than £90 billion to the UK economy coffers and boasts an average salary that many can only dream of. Conversely digital skills shortage has been attributed to the existence of one in five job vacancies in the UK and places a stranglehold on many companies who are unable to realise their competitive potential subsequently becoming less attractive as a possible destination for those abroad searching for ambitious, innovative and dynamic destinations in which to invest.

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