What is the news? Starting Monday, the United Kingdom’s EU Settlement Scheme will open to the public for an expanded test phase for EU nationals in the U.K. to secure their residency rights.

Key points:

  • Starting Jan. 21, all EU nationals, as well as their non-EU citizen family members who hold a valid biometric residence card, will be able to register their citizens’ rights in the U.K. via the EU Settlement Scheme.
  • Under the EU Settlement Scheme:
    • Those with five years or more of residence in the U.K. will be granted “settled status” and a right to a permanent stay in the U.K.
    • Those with less than five years’ residence would receive “pre-settled status” with an option to re-register as “settled” in due course after Brexit.
  • EU Settlement Scheme applications are not mandatory at this stage.
  • By choosing to apply after Jan. 21, EU national applicants will provide valuable insight into the system’s functions and allow changes to be made prior to the full launch on March 30.
  • Applicants during this expanded test phase must use the EU Exit: Identity Document Check app, which is part of the integrated online application process, to prove their identity. They then must show National Insurance Number records or other official documents to prove residence.

Background: The U.K.’s EU Settlement Scheme was put into the U.K. immigration rules in August 2018, and has since been undergoing trials, initially with select universities and National Health Service trusts in northwest England, and then more widely in the NHS, with a full launch not expected until March 30. To date, 15,500 applications have been made, with 12,400 registrations completed, suggesting that the scheme is effective in delivering its aims (although a full report later this month should provide more details).

Analysis & Comments: This announcement means that the EU Settlement Scheme will be available to EU nationals in the U.K. sooner than many employers and employees expected. While registrations are voluntary, this announcement may encourage a surge of applications. In light of this updated timetable, employers looking to support employees with applications should be prepared to address further questions about the scheme in their Brexit communications and events for their employees.

Source: Deloitte LLP. Deloitte LLP is a limited liability partnership registered in England and Wales with registered number OC303675 and its registered office at 1 New Street Square, London EC4A 3HQ, United Kingdom.