EU nationals will NOT be subject to international criminal record checks under a generous post-Brexit immigration scheme unveiled by the Home Secretary.
Sajid Javid announced almost four million EU citizens can claim settled status in Britain simply by answering basic questions online. Decisions will be made quickly, with the presumption that all applications will be approved.
Under the scheme, any EU national who comes to Britain before the end of December 2020 will have the right to settled status, as long as they pay a £65 (£32.50 for children) application fee.
They can then bring in parents, grandparents, siblings, boyfriends or girlfriends under the new rules, denoting a much better deal…
EU citizens will have to answer three “simple” questions online if they want to continue living in the UK after Brexit, the home secretary has said.
Sajid Javid said the government’s “default” position would be to grant, not refuse, settled status.
People will be asked to prove their ID, Their answers will be checked against government databases and a decision given “very quickly”, said Mr Javid.
The scheme will operate online and via a smartphone app, Mr Javid said, and would be “as simple as people can reasonably expect”, with most decisions turned around within two weeks or sooner.
Who needs to apply for settled status?
The £170m scheme will be compulsory for all EU citizens living in the UK – the government expects a total of 3.5 million applications.
EU citizens and family members who have been in the UK for five years by the end of 2020 will be able to apply for “settled status”, meaning they are free to go on living and working in the UK indefinitely.
Those who have arrived by December 31, 2020, but do not have five years’ residence, can seek to stay until they have, at which point they can seek settled status.
The scheme also includes citizens of Switzerland, Iceland, Liechtenstein and Norway.
How much will it cost?
Applications will cost £65 for adults and £32.50 for children and be free for EU nationals who already have residency or indefinite leave to remain.
Applicants will be asked to provide their biographical information, declare whether they have any criminal records, and upload a facial photograph.
The process requires verification of the applicant’s identity and nationality using a passport, ID card or other valid document, which can be done using a smartphone app or through secure post.
When will the scheme start?
The government hopes to start trials within a few weeks, with people allowed to start registering in the autumn.
Mr Javid told the Lords EU Justice sub-committee he wanted it to be fully operational by the “start of next year”, adding that he wanted to avoid a “surge” of applicants when the UK leaves the EU in March.
The scheme would run for at least two years after Brexit day, probably to around June 2021, said the home secretary.
Other details of how it will work
- Applicants without smartphones or computers will be able to fill in their application online at libraries and special contact centres
- Those without access to computers, or who are unable to use them, will be given assistance and may be visited at home by immigration officials
- Help with translation will also be offered
- People from the Republic of Ireland will not need to apply for settled status but can do so if they wish to
- Those with pre-settled status will be able to obtain settled status without additional charge
- What the Home Office is embarking on is a hugely complex project within a tight timescale.When challenged about the potential for it go wrong, officials point to the Passport Office as an example of a service successfully processing millions of cases every year.
But unlike the biometric passport system, the EU registration scheme is being built from scratch.