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Late applications to the EU Settlement Scheme

The Home Office has issued a list of reasonable grounds for missing the deadline, under which late applications may still be granted.

The deadline for making an application to the EU Settlement Scheme (EUSS) was 30 June 2021. As such, from 1 July 2021, any EU, EEA or Swiss nationals (EU nationals) in the UK who do not have settled or pre-settled status granted to them under the EUSS also do not have the right to live, work, study or access benefits within the UK.

If you have not yet made an application

EU nationals are able to make late applications under the EUSS and the Home Office has confirmed that it will take a ‘flexible and pragmatic’ approach to accepting late applications by looking for reasons to grant settled / pre-settled status rather than reasons not to.

The Home Office has issued a list of reasonable grounds for missing the deadline, under which late applications may still be granted. The reasonable grounds include (but are not limited to):

  • where a parent, guardian or Local Authority has failed to apply on behalf of a child;
  • where a person has or had a serious medical condition, which meant they were unable to apply by the relevant deadline;
  • where someone is a victim of modern slavery or is in an abusive relationship;
  • where someone is isolated, vulnerable or did not have the digital skills to access the application process;
  • where a person was unable to apply by the relevant deadline for compelling practical or compassionate reasons – including in light of the COVID-19 pandemic.

Evidence of any reasonable grounds for missing the deadline should be provided alongside the application. EU nationals who are encountered by Immigration Enforcement (who have not made an application under the EUSS) will be provided with a written notice, providing a further 28 days in which to make an application.

If you have made an application and await a response

If you have made an application under the EUSS (and made your application before the deadline of 30 June 2021) then you can evidence your pending application with a Certificate of Application (which should have been sent to you by the Home Office as an acknowledgement of your application).

If you have not yet received a Certificate of Application from the Home Office, you should at least have received an email from them confirming receipt of your application. This email will contain details of how prospective employers or landlords can obtain evidence of your status.

Your rights within the UK will effectively be ‘paused’ whilst you await the outcome of the application. This means that you are still entitled to live, work, study and access benefits within the UK.

You will remain entitled to free healthcare whilst your application remains pending and, if you are subsequently granted settled or pre-settled status then you will remain eligible to receive free healthcare.

If you are not granted settled or pre-settled status under the EUSS then you can alternatively obtain a valid visa under the points-based immigration system. However, you will require a sponsor and must meet a more stringent set of requirements in order to do so.

For employers

We understand that compliant employers will wish to ensure that their EU national employees have the right to continue to work in the UK after the deadline. However, provided a right to work check was completed correctly at the time (for example, by obtaining a copy of an EU national’s passport and endorsing it to confirm the date that the check was completed) then employers are provided with a statutory defence, should it transpire that any EU nationals were in fact working illegally on or after 1 July 2021 (if either their applications were refused or they missed the deadline and did not have reasonable grounds upon which to make a late application).

Employers should not single out EU national employees and ask them whether they applied under the EUSS, whether they applied in time, whether they have received a response or what their status is. Any employer who does so could potentially face discrimination and harassment claims, as employees do not need to provide this to current employers (only prospective ones).

If you become aware of an EU national employee who has not yet made an application under the EUSS then please contact us for further guidance.

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