Britain’s security minister, Brandon Lewis, has warned that thousands of EU citizens without settled status may be subject to administrative removal after Brexit.
The decision to leave the EU continues to be a divisive issue across the UK and in particular the right to freedom of movement and right of residence. As of 2018, 3.6 million EU citizens were reported to be living in the UK. Those without settled status may find themselves in a precarious situation if EU freedom of movement is not agreed upon.
What is administrative removal and deportation?
Administrative removal is often confused with deportation which whilst similar with respect to the exile of a foreign national is distinct.
Deportation, as regulated by the Immigration Act of 1971, is the process by which the Secretary of State orders the removal of a foreign national, under conditions in which said removal is seen as conducive to “the public good”.
Administrative removal, regulated under section 10 of the Immigration and Asylum Act 1999, is distinct as is the enforced removal of a foreign national who does not have leave to remain.
Following an interview with the German newspaper Die Welt, Brandon Lewis warned that after Brexit immigration rules would apply uniformly hence EU nationals without secure status may be subject to administrative removal.
During the interview he specified that those who failed to apply by the end of 2020 will be at risk of deportation.
Until this point Home Office briefings have consistently stressed that officials are doing all they can to grant EU nationals the right to remain but have failed to detail what will happen to those without settled status after Brexit.
How has the government responded?
Responding to this criticism, Brandon Lewis maintained that his statements were taken out of context and that there would be leeway on these applications.
According to government statistics, at the end of September there was 1,524,500 applications for settled status. 61 per cent of these applicants were granted settled status and 38 per cent were given pre-settled status, which can be upgraded to full settled status after you have lived in the country for five continuous years. The government further notes that only 0.5 per cent of cases were classes as having “other outcomes”.
However, activists have remained sceptical of the government’s claims. According to the metro, over than 7,600 applicants have not been granted permanent permission to live and work in the country – settled status – or temporary leave to remain – pre-settled status.
What are the benefits of settled status?
Those who receive settled status will be free of immigration restrictions and will be able to use the NHS, study and access public funds and benefits. Yet, in order to achieve settled status, they must prove their identity, show residency in the UK and declare any criminal convictions before the EU Settlement Scheme application deadline of December 2020.
The prospect of administrative removal is quite worrying hence Westkin encourages EU nationals to secure their status before the Brexit deadline.
We are a specialist immigration law firm with over 20 expert solicitors and a combined 30 years of experience. We have a successful track record of both appealing Home Office requests for administrative removal as well as successfully applying for settled status on behalf on our clients.
We have led on cases ranging from individuals and families to large multinational companies.
For more information on how Brexit may impact your immigration status follow this blog.
5th Floor, Maddox House,
1 Maddox Street
0207 118 4546