Thousands of EU Citizens in the UK are at risk of becoming illegal residents

20 April, 2018

A ‘potentially significant’ number of vulnerable EU citizens, including the elderly, victims of domestic abuse, and children in care are at risk of failing to secure the right to remain in the UK after Brexit.

Despite the Government developing a system to give EU citizens already living in the UK a ‘settled status’, it is believed that a large number of people may not be aware that they need to apply. The Government will need to ensure that all EU citizens living in the UK are well informed.

Those who have been continuously and lawfully living in the UK for five years by 31 December 2020 will have the right to apply to stay indefinitely by acquiring ‘settled status’.  Those who have not been living in the UK for five years when the UK finalises Brexit and leaves the EU can apply to stay until they reach the five-year threshold, and once they reach that they will then be eligible to apply for settled status.

Ministers from the UK Government have previously stated that the process of applying for settled status will be ‘streamlined, low-cost and user friendly’ with the application being online, with six to eight questions. The process will cost no more than a British Passport (currently £75.50) and a decision should be delivered within two weeks of the application being submitted.

A Home Office spokesman said, “We are well aware of the challenges of ensuring that three million EU citizens and their family members living here understand the need to apply and have the ability to. That is why we have already launched a national awareness campaign, are holding monthly meetings with EU citizens’ representatives to understand their needs and are planning a range of support for vulnerable groups such as the elderly, children and families, victims of domestic violence and those with English as a second language.

“We will be setting out further details before the summer and EU citizens will have plenty of time to make an application. But we have also been clear that we will exercise discretion if there are good reasons why someone has not been able to make an application before the June 2021 deadline.”

Clearview Relocation’s expert team of relocation consultants will provide practical guidance on how to best deliver the perfect relocation package, keeping in mind any concerns that have arisen in light of the Brexit negotiations.

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