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Last October the Home Office Minister Brandon Lewis furthered the uncertainty surrounding the treatment of EU citizens who have not signed up to the UK’s settlement scheme by 30 June 2021. He stated “if EU citizens until this point of time have not registered and have no adequate reason for it, then the valid immigration rules will be applied.” This statement did not preclude the possibility of automatic deportation which could lead to serious ramifications for the most vulnerable groups of EU citizens living in post Brexit UK.
There was a great sense of relief for all EU citizens this week when Guy Verhofstadt, the EU’s Brexit spokesperson, declared that he had been assured during recent discussions with Brexit Secretary, Steve Barclay, that automatic deportation would not apply to EU citizens living in the UK who did not register under the settlement scheme by the June 2021 deadline. The Home Office responded to Verhofstadt’s statement by declaring that “where people have reasonable grounds for missing the original deadline, they will be given a further opportunity to apply.” This is a positive development as it offers further safe guards from the risk of deportation for EU citizens in the future. This could protect EU citizens who were not provided with adequate information regarding the settlement scheme or individuals who require assistance in completing the application process.
2.5 million people have already been granted either “pre-settled” or “settled” status in the settlement scheme which will guarantee the right to continue to work and access benefits within the UK for these EU nationals. Although this announcement offers a measure of some relief to EU citizens living in the UK, registration with the UK’s settlement scheme by 30th June 2021 will protect citizens from having to go through the process of justifying why they did not register on the scheme within the prescribed time frame. Such uncertainty can be avoided by seeking advice on how to apply to the scheme and ensuring that your future in the UK is secured.
This article has been produced for general information purposes and further advice should be sought from a professional advisor. Immigration is a complex area of law for both corporates and individuals. Please contact the Business Immigration team at Cleaver Fulton Rankin for further advice or information.