EU Citizens residing in the UK who missed the 30 June EU Settlement Scheme (EUSS) deadline will receive a 28-day immigration notice from the UK government.
Those who did not submit an EUSS application within a week of the deadline will be notified that they risk facing consequences, such as loss of access to healthcare and employment.
In the run-up to the deadline, the Home Office increased its efforts to get in contact with those who are unaware of the changes to the immigration system, such as the elderly and vulnerable.
Despite a notable increase in applications- which as of last week were being submitted at a rate of 10,000 to 12,000 a day- UK immigration minister Kevin Foster has previously made it clear that the government would not move to extend the deadline.
Deadline cannot be extended
“Put simply, extending the deadline is not the solution to reaching those people who have not yet applied, and we would just be in a position further down the line where we would be asked to extend again, creating more uncertainties.”
However, Foster also stated that those who did not apply in time will not have their welfare benefits stopped on 1 July, and gave reassurances that the Home Office will be flexible and lenient.
It was recently revealed that around 5.6 million applications have been submitted in total, including some repeats. Despite this however, the Home Office is currently facing a backlog of around 400,000, which reportedly could take all summer to process.
According to The Guardian, the Home Office has received 1.5 million helpline calls and 500,000 requests for help via an online contact form, figures that are deemed a reflection of the sheer scale of difficulty that many EU citizens are facing.
Speaking to a Lords committee, Mr Foster said:
“To accommodate those who will not have a decision for months, the government will issue a ‘certificate of application’ that all applicants can rely on as proof to access their right to rent or work. It can also be used to access the NHS.“People will not lose their benefits next week.”
Speaking during a recent press briefing, the Home Office said that it would ‘work with individuals to understand their reasons for not applying’, rather than seeking to deport them.
A Home Office spokesperson said:
“We’ll set up the support available and we’ll signpost people to make an application, but we do recognise that there may be some people who, after that 28 days, still haven’t been able to make an application.”
“Then I think we would want to work with them to understand why that is the case, and then support them again to make the application.”
The Home Office has stated that, should an EU citizen have failed to meet the 30 June cut-off, they could face enforcement action and be denied access to services, employment and benefits.
An official Home Office statement added:
“Whether such action is taken will be determined in accordance with immigration enforcement policy guidance relating to those in breach of UK immigration law and following a careful assessment of the individual’s circumstances.”
The Home Office also reaffirmed that the ‘flexible approach’ will not be permanent, and in accordance with UK rules, EU citizens who have submitted their application late will need to provide ‘reasonable grounds’ for doing so.
Some of those set to receive the 28-day immigration notices are EU citizens who cannot prove their right to work, and who have been identified by immigration checks on employers.
NHS will be available
The Home Office moved to point out that the NHS would still be available to those with a certificate of application, and that ‘urgent treatment’ would never be refused.
However, the government department did stress that employers or landlords do not need to carry out retrospective checks on their workers or tenants, and that those who reject future workers or tenants because they have not yet been granted post-Brexit immigration status could be sued for discrimination.
The new rules were introduced following the UK’s departure from the EU with the aim of protecting EU citizens in the UK and British citizens already settled in the EU.
The Home Office has concerns that UK citizens have been facing difficulty in relation to reciprocal residency rights in EU countries such as Bulgaria, Italy and Portugal. These concerns have recently been raised with the EU ambassador.
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