Threat To Right To Residence In UK For Millions Of EU Citizens Working Here Is Lifted
In a major government u-turn, the threat to EU citizens, working in the UK, of losing their right to residence has been lifted. Many of those affected work in domestic employment.
The government had previously indicated it would appeal against a ruling that the government’s European Union Settlement Scheme (EUSS) that regulations affecting more then 2.5 million EU citizens working in the UK.
Many of these could have faced losing their right to residence if they did not further apply for settled or pre-settled status within five years.
The case was brought by a watchdog for EU citizens’ rights after Brexit. But at a High Court hearing in London in November, it was said the settlement scheme was incompatible with teh Brexit withdrawal agreement because of its effect on some EU citizens and their family members, as well as those from countries in the European Economic Area and the European Free Trade Association.
In December, Mr Justice Lane ruled that part of the EUSS set up by the Home Office to settle EU citizens’ immigration status was based on an incorrect interpretation of the withdrawal agreement between the UK and the EU.
Since 2018, the Home Office has run a two-stage process for EU citizens who wanted to remain in the UK. This EUSS was set up because the EU’s freedom of movement principle had meant many people from within the bloc had never needed permission to be in the UK.
The scheme gave them pre-settled status – a limited right to live and work in the UK which expires if they did not re-apply for full settled status after five years.
In his ruling, Mr Justice Lane said that if the Home Office’s interpretation of the law was correct, “a very large number of people face the most serious uncertainty”, including possible deportation.
He concluded the Home Office had wrongly interpreted the law. The Home Office said the judgement was now law and it was working to implement it “as swiftly as possible”.
A spokesman for the Home Office has now confirmed “Those with pre-settled status are encouraged to apply for settled status as soon as they are eligible, so they can obtain secure evidence of their right of permanent residence in the UK.”
The Graham Agency, keeping you informed.