BREXIT: UK Minister Confirms EU Citizens Who Miss Settled Status Deadline May Be Deported
On 10 October 2019, the Home Office Minister Brandon Lewis told a German newspaper that, in a no-deal Brexit, EU citizens could be deported from the UK if they fail to apply for settled status by the 31 December 2020 deadline, even if they fulfil all legal conditions for a residence permit.
It is unclear whether this policy would also apply in the case of Brexit with a deal, if EU citizens fail to apply for settled status before the deadline of 30 June 2021.
Previously, the Home Office has briefed that officials will do everything possible to grant EU nationals the right to remain, and has avoided commenting on the consequences of missing the deadline.
The Minister later said that there is plenty of help available to EU citizens applying for the scheme and that those with reasonable grounds for missing the deadline will be allowed extra time.
However, campaigners have noted that there is a lack of clarity about what would be considered reasonable grounds for missing the deadline.
There is concern that, even if only an optimistic one percent of the approximately 3.6 million EU citizens in the UK fail to apply for settled status by the deadline, this would translate to around 36,000 people who would not have proof of legal immigration status and could therefore be denied jobs, housing and medical treatment, and risk deportation under the government’s “hostile environment” policies.
The Windrush scandal, a similar issue, has affected Commonwealth migrants who arrived in the UK before 1971, and who were not issued any paperwork confirming leave to remain.
If a withdrawal agreement is ratified, all EU citizens arriving in the UK before 31 December 2020 will have until 30 June 2021 to register, through the EU Settlement Scheme.
However, if the UK leaves the EU without a deal, only EU citizens already in the UK by Brexit day will qualify for the scheme, and they will have to apply by 31 December 2020.
Employers who may be affected are encouraged to contact a Newland Chase immigration specialist for case-specific advice.