• Spencer Payne

EU Nationals Face Deadline To Apply For Settled Status

Updated: Jun 28, 2021

EU nationals currently employed in the UK have until 30 June to apply for settled status, or they will automatically be classed as illegal immigrants. This will leave them without basic rights, such as being able to work, open a bank account, access healthcare, or rent accommodation, and they may even face deportation.

London Loves Business reports that immigration lawyers are urging businesses with European employees who do not have settled or pre-settled status to help them complete applications to beat the deadline.

There is no legal obligation for businesses to check on employees, and they are not legally entitled to ask staff about their settled status, or if they have made an application. In fact, the article states that employers could face discrimination claims if they insist on disclosure.

However, there is a concern that thousands of EU nationals will fail to apply for the scheme by 30 June, or have misunderstood the process. This could potentially leave thousands of workers and their families in a very difficult situation.

Lawyers are keen to convey the message that EU, EEA or Swiss nationals and family members who were in the UK before 11pm on 31 December 2020 are eligible for settled or pre-settled status. The application process can be done on a website or app, and will only take about 20 minutes.

Meanwhile, the BBC reports that Welsh charity Settled UK is worried that some EU citizens living in Wales will slip through the net, creating a new Windrush situation.

Chief executive Kate Smart said: "We can see already there are cases, for example, where there are families who have successfully made EU settlement scheme applications for the parents but have overlooked applying for the children.”

Ms Smart also said she feared there were people working on farms in rural areas who might not be aware of the scheme, or be excluded by the digital nature of the application process, and others who have had difficulty renewing their passports due to the pandemic, or are not aware they need a current valid passport.

According to the BBC report, the UK government has promised to consider applications with ‘reasonable grounds’ for lateness.

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