The Home Office EU Settlement Scheme has been designed to provide EU citizens and their families with a route to living and working in the UK beyond 31 December 2020.
The scheme was announced in June 2018 and launched using a phased pilot approach in August. It will be fully operational by 30 March 2019.
Whether the UK makes a deal with the EU or not, EU citizens living in the UK before the 29 March 2019 will be able to apply to stay in the UK via the EU settlement scheme.
The Home Office ran the first pilot with 13 NHS trusts in the North West and three education providers followed by a second pilot for the health and social care sector to fully test the application process and ensure the scheme is ready to be launched in March 2019. Read private beta testing phase 1 report and private beta testing phase 2 report to find out more.
The EU Settlement Scheme is now open for a public testing phase. This will be available to EU citizens and their families who meet the eligibility criteria.
To make an application, please visit the government website.
During this testing phase, applicants will need to use the Identity Document Check app to verify their identity, which is currently only available on Android devices. When the scheme is fully operational on 30 March 2019, the use of the app will be optional and there will be other ways to verify someone's identity.
There is no obligation for EU citizens within organisations to participate at this stage, however, if they do, they will obtain their pre-settled status or settled status ahead of when the scheme opens fully in March 2019.
Citizens of Iceland, Liechtenstein, Norway or Switzerland are not eligible to apply during this phase. They will be able to apply when the scheme is fully open on 30 March 2019.
The links below provide all of the information that you and your EU health and social care sector staff need to complete an application. Please help your EU workers to complete an application by making this information available to them.
- Briefing pack – this document contains an overview of the pilot, who is eligible and how the application will work. It also contains a series of links to further information on GOV.UK.
- Email template – this is a draft email for you to send to staff who are eligible to apply. Please feel free to tailor this as required or to replicate the content for your other internal channels.
- Poster – for displaying on staff notice boards.
On 21 January 2019, the Prime Minister announced that from 30 March 2019 (when the system is fully launched) EU citizens and their families will not be charged a fee. Anyone who has already applied, or who applies and pays a fee during the test phases will have their fee refunded. The Home Office will be publishing further details of the refunds process in due course.
We are waiting for further clarity on how the refund system will work for those employers who have already reimbursed staff for the fee.
The decision to waive the fee is positive, however, it is important that colleagues who apply during this public testing phase are aware they will be required to pay and will subsequently be refunded the money. In any communications with your EU staff, you may wish to ensure this message is clear so that colleagues can take this into consideration when they are deciding whether to apply now or after 30 March 2019.
The Home Office has developed an employer toolkit which provides you with a range of tools and information to help you support your EU staff and their families to apply to the scheme.
The process for EU citizens
Your EU staff will need to follow three simple steps when applying either during the pilot or from 30 March 2019:
- confirm their identity
- demonstrate that they live in the UK
- declare that they have no serious criminal convictions.
If the UK leaves the EU with a deal, the deadline for applications will be 30 June 2021. In the event of a no deal, the deadline for applications will be 31 December 2020. Applications will be free of charge.
For those EU staff who already have a valid permanent residence or indefinite leave to remain documentation, they will be able to exchange it for pre-settled status or settled status for free. Irish citizens do not need to apply to the scheme.
Detailed information and guidance for your EU staff and their families can be found on the GOV.UK website.
Changes to the immigration rules provides details of the scheme which delivers on the citizens’ rights agreement with the EU reached in March 2018 and guarantees the rights of UK nationals living in the EU. You can download the statement of changes.