40% of EU migrant workers don’t know the EU Settlement Scheme exists.
A new survey of EU citizens in Cambridge has shown that almost half of Eastern European migrant workers don’t know that the EU Settlement Scheme exists. This extended to individuals planning on staying in the UK longterm who would be required to make a settlement application.
The report concludes that “the EU Settlement Scheme is still unknown to many migrants, and poorly understood by users”.
The findings come from interviews in early 2020 with 90 migrant workers in the Cambridgeshire fens. Most were Lithuanian, Romanian or Bulgarian. Almost all worked in jobs considered “lower-skilled”.
Without awareness of this scheme, many EU migrants may miss their application deadlines for settlement and could end up being classified as unlawful residents in the UK. There are many factors which could contribute to this such as individuals having poor English and not understanding the full terms of their visa.
The Home Office is likely to face issues with this matter going forward, as although it is evident that 3.9 million people have already applied for the settlement scheme, there is no way of telling how many have not applied for it. This is because individuals who entered the UK before the Coronavirus lockdowns had come into effect may not have originally been counted as long-term migrants who planned to stay in the UK.
What is the EU Settlement Scheme?
The EU settlement scheme is for individuals who are an EU, EEA or Swiss citizen living in the UK who want to continue living in the UK after 30 June 2021. This route does not apply to people who have already been granted indefinite leave to remain in the UK.
Successful applicants to the EU Settlement Scheme will be able to continue living and working in the UK after 30 June 2021. Successful applicants will either qualify for settled status or pre-settled status. This depends on how long you’ve been living in the UK.
How do you get settled status?
- started living in the UK by 31 December 2020
- lived in the UK for a continuous 5-year period (known as ‘continuous residence’)
How do you get pre-settled status?
If you do not have 5 years’ continuous residence when you apply, you’ll usually get pre-settled status. You must have started living in the UK by 31 December 2020.
What can you do while living in the UK with settled or pre-settled status?
- work in the UK
- use the NHS for free
- enrol in education or continue studying
- access public funds such as benefits and pensions, if you’re eligible for them
- travel in and out of the UK
How can you apply for the EU Settlement Scheme?
The EU settlement scheme is already open and the deadline for applying is 30 June 2021. It is free to apply to the scheme and applications can be done online through the government website.
You will not be asked to choose which you’re applying for. Which status you get depends on how long you’ve been living in the UK when you apply. Your rights will be different depending on which status you get.
There is plenty of evidence to suggest that if individuals miss the deadline to apply for the EU Settlement Scheme and become unlawful citizens in the UK without a valid visa, they could be lawfully removed from the UK by the government. This is an easily avoidable issue if individuals ensure that they have applied for the scheme.
If you would like assistance with your application for the EU settlement scheme or any other Visa needs, please get in touch with Westkin today, and a member of our specialist team of immigration lawyers will be happy to assist you.