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Nearly 700,000 get leave to remain in UK after Brexit

Written by: Martine Berg Olsen – Thursday 20 Jun 2019 2:28 pm

Home Secretary Sajid Javid said earlier this month that most applications were successful (Picture: Reuters)

Almost 700,000 people have been granted leave to remain in the UK after Brexit, the Home Office said.

Some 166,900 people applied to the Government’s EU settlement scheme in May to secure their post-Brexit status, statistics released on Thursday show.

As of May 31, the total number of applications since the scheme was opened was 788,200, with 668,000 applications concluded, according to the Home Office release.

Of these, 66 per cent were granted settled status and 34 per cent were granted pre-settled status.

Home Secretary Sajid Javid, who was knocked out of the leadership race today, told parliament on June 10 that the number had risen to more than 800,000, and that almost 700,000 people had been successful.

It is the second time the monthly stats have been released since the scheme opened to the public on March 30.

Hundreds of thousands have applied to secure their post-Brexit status (Picture: PA)

Immigration Minister Caroline Nokes said: ‘The EU Settlement Scheme is making really good progress and more than 800,000 people have already applied, with almost 700,000 granted status.

‘The scheme is simple and free and EU citizens have until at least December 31 2020 to apply so we are well on track to deliver on our promise to protect the rights of EU citizens.’

Overall, the majority of applications were made in England at 726,700, with 33,600 from Scotland, 17,600 from Wales and 9,000 from Northern Ireland.

The Home Office figures show that Poles continue to apply more than any other nationality, with 132,400 Polish applications.

There were 110,900 Romanian and 91,400 Italian applications. 

The UK is due to leave the European Union on October 31 (Picture: AFP)

As well as EU nationals, the scheme is open to citizens of Iceland, Liechtenstein and Norway, which are in the European Economic Area (EEA) but not EU member states, as well as those from Switzerland.

Non-EEA family members can also apply, and as of May 31 there had been around 33,400 applications.

Successful applicants are granted immigration status confirming their right to continue living and working in the UK indefinitely.

People who have lived continuously in the country for five years can obtain settled status.

Those with less than five years’ residence can acquire pre-settled status, which can later be converted into settled status.

Following three trial phases, the scheme went fully live at the end of March.

Original article:

EU settled status: how employers can help their European staff

Last week Personnel Today ran an opinion piece which criticised the EU Settlement Scheme, the process that EU, EEA or Swiss citizens need to follow to continue living in the UK after 30 June 2021. In response, immigration minister Caroline Nokes explains what the Home Office is doing to make the scheme run as smoothly as possible for individuals and employers.

I am immensely proud that just a few months into the EU Settlement Scheme more than 800,000 people have applied and, as the home secretary confirmed last week, almost 700,000 have been granted status.

It shows how well the scheme is performing. It’s free and means that EU citizens and their families only need to complete three key steps – prove their identity, show that they live in the UK, and declare any criminal convictions.

As Chetal Patel wrote last week in Personnel Today, companies can play a vital role in supporting their staff. Two thirds of EU citizens here in the UK are here for work, which means HR professionals and business leaders are uniquely placed to support EU citizens.

This is why we launched a multi-million-pound marketing campaign and created an employer’s toolkit that provides employers with the right tools and information to support staff.

And businesses are already playing their part. Companies like Staffline – one of the largest recruiters in the UK – have set up ID document checking facilities at their 450 sites across the UK. Elsewhere, PizzaExpress has polled its 11,000 strong team to ask what level of support they need so it can learn how best to guide its teams through the process.

Media agency MediaCom is running special support sessions which have been attended by 90% of all of its EU staff based in the UK. They have said the scheme is well supported by the government groups leading it.

I am really grateful to these companies who are sending a clear message – EU citizens are our colleagues, they are valued, and we want them to stay.

Supporting employees

While it’s great that businesses are supporting their employees, it’s important that support and guidance is readily available. I visited the Settlement Resolution Centre in Liverpool last month and also saw the 1,500 dedicated Home Office staff helping to grant status and it’s really pleasing to see that the vast majority of people applying have found the scheme easy.

During the public testing phase of our Android app, 95% of applicants were able to prove their identity remotely, meaning they did not have to send in their passport or ID document. We are also working very closely with Apple to make sure the app functions on their devices later this year.

It’s part of our move to a more digital system. While I understand paper documents may provide peace of mind, they can be lost, stolen or tampered with. A digital status will make it simpler and faster for employers to carry out right-to-work checks on prospective employees and for individuals to demonstrate their right to work, housing and benefits in the future.

We live in a digital age and immigration systems across the world are moving online. I think it is right the EU Settlement Scheme embraces it.

Addressing concerns

I also want to address some other concerns about the scheme and to provide clarity. It has been suggested that handing over a national insurance number – which is optional – could lead to a tax enquiry in the future, but this is not the case at all. Checking your residence against UK tax and some benefits records is about saving people time and hassle. During public testing around 75% of people were able to confirm their residence this way and therefore did not have to send any further evidence.

We have always been clear that in some cases, for example where a serious criminal conviction is involved, we may refuse those applications. However, during testing, which involved more than 200,000 applications, there were no refusals at all. People should feel confident in making an application to the scheme.

Let me be clear, our starting position is that we are looking for reasons to grant people status because we want everyone to receive the status they are eligible for.

I would encourage people who want to find out more, including the support available, to visit the EU Settlement Scheme website.

Original article: