13/04/2023

Pre-Settled Status -August 2023 deadline

August 2023 marks 5 years since the EU Settlement Scheme (EUSS) first opened to applicants. This is very significant. Nina Holmes and Angharad Aspinall outline what you need to know.

For many of the estimated two and a half million people in the UK who hold pre-settled status, their 5-year period of limited leave to remain in the UK under the EUSS will expire in August 2023, bringing an end to their pre-settled status.

Before it expires, they will need to apply for settled status to secure their continued right to live in the UK. Without an application to upgrade to settled status, many EU nationals may find themselves in the UK unlawfully.

As well as being catastrophic for individuals, there is also a risk that employers will unwittingly continue to employ those who have lost the right to work.

Here’s what you need to know

  • If you have pre-settled status, it is valid for 5-years from the date it was granted (unless it has lapsed, has been revoked or curtailed).
  • You are eligible to apply for settled status as soon as you have been living in the UK continuously for 5-years. ‘Continuously’ means that you have not been outside the UK for more than 6-months in any 12-month period (unless certain exceptions apply).
  • If you have been outside the UK for 2-years in that 5-year period, your pre-settled status will have lapsed, and you will not be entitled to apply for settled status.
  • An application for settled status is made online. The process is intended to be straightforward if you have the relevant ID documents, have been working continuously and HMRC hold records of your employment. In these circumstances, your continuous residence will be automatically checked against HMRC records when you apply.
  • In other circumstances, where you do not have complete HMRC records for example, or you have periods of absence which exceed 6 months, you will need to provide the Home Office with more evidence. This can be uploaded online.
  • If your ID document has expired, you will need to obtain a new one before you apply for settled status.
  • When you have made your (free) application, you will receive a Certificate of Application which confirms your right to live and work in the UK while your application is pending approval.

What can I do as an employer?

Encourage your employees to apply now if they can

Applications for settled status are free, and if successful, will result in your employees being granted indefinite leave to remain in the UK and a route to British citizenship. The application process is also intended to be straightforward, making it quick and easy for your employees to apply.

Advise your employees that there may be pitfalls

Not all applications will be straightforward, particularly if the employee has not been working for the full duration of their pre-settled status and/or they have spent significant periods of time outside the UK. In this case, the Home Office may not be able to rely on automated checks to make their decision and may be requested to provide further evidence demonstrating their continuous 5-year residence in the UK.

Support your employees

It’s important that your employees feel supported during this process, which will benefit both of you if their settled status is granted.

If you have any queries about how this will impact your business, get in touch with our team of expert immigration lawyers for bespoke advice.