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Brexit – EU Settlement Scheme Fees to be Scrapped

The UK Government has announced plans to scrap all fees for EU nationals and their family members applying to register their residence in the UK under the EU Settlement Scheme. Registration under the scheme will now be free.

What’s the change?

The UK Government has announced plans to scrap all fees for EU nationals and their family members applying to register their residence in the UK under the EU Settlement Scheme. Registration under the scheme will now be free.

Key points:
  • The EU Settlement Scheme opened to the general public during an expanded pilot phase starting on 21 January 2019.
    • EU nationals with a biometric passport, or family members with a biometric residence card, can now apply to register their residence in the UK using an online app (although the scheme will not be fully open for assisted applications until 30 March 2019).
  • The scrapping of fees will require a legal change to the immigration rules to go through Parliament over the coming week, therefore the change will not be effective immediately.
  • Applications made since the scheme opened in 28 August 2018 will be refunded in due course.
  • Applicants made over coming days may still need to pay, but will also be refunded in due course.
  • As a reminder, under the EU Settlement Scheme:
    • those with 5 years’ or more residence in the UK will be granted “settled status” and a right to a permanent stay in the UK;
    • those with less than five years’ residence will 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.
  • EU citizens wanting to stay in the UK will still have until 30 June 2021 to apply, in line with the draft Withdrawal Agreement.
  • By choosing to apply from 21 January, EU nationals applicants will provide valuable insight into the system’s functions and allow adaptions to be made prior to full launch on 30 March 2019.
  • 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 and then National Insurance Number records, or other official documents, to prove residence.
Deloitte’s View

Today’s announcement that fees for registration under the EU Settlement Scheme - £65 for adults and £32.50 for children - have been scrapped entirely should be welcomed by employers and employees. Employers looking to support employees with EU Settlement Scheme applications should be prepared for further questions about the scheme, particularly around charging and refunds, and to adapt any Brexit communications in light of this change once formally within the immigration rules.

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