Employers, industry groups and community groups in the UK will be able to give EU citizens practical advice on how to apply for settled status with the help of a new toolkit published by the Home Office.
The Government plans to open the settlement scheme in phases by the end of this year, and intends on it being fully operational by 30th March 2019, with a deadline of 30th June 2021 for applications. More information on the scheme can be found here.
The implementation of the scheme and the publication of the toolkit are positive steps for EU citizens living in the UK, and I hope the scheme will be successful in ensuring we protect the rights EU citizens and their families currently hold here.
There is no need for EU citizens living in the UK to do anything before the scheme opens, but if you would like to keep up to date with any developments, you can sign up for email updates.
In the Prime Minister's speech on 21st September following the EU summit at Salzburg, she made it her priority to reiterate to EU citizens that they will not have diminished rights once we leave the EU, regardless of the outcome of the negotiations:
“First, there are over 3 million EU citizens living in the UK who will be understandably worried about what the outcome of yesterday’s summit means for their future. I want to be clear with you that even in the event of no deal your rights will be protected. You are our friends, our neighbours, our colleagues. We want you to stay.”
The Prime Minister also reiterated her commitment to welcoming migrants from abroad who do not currently live in the UK during her closing speech at Conservative Party Conference on 3rd October:
"Throughout our history, migrants have made a huge contribution to our country - and they will continue to in the future. Those with the skills we need, who want to come here and work hard, will find a welcome."
On 11th October, Immigration Minister Caroline Nokes wrote to Yvette Cooper, the Chair of the Home Affairs Select Committee, to update the Committee on the progress of the Home Office's test phase for the EU settlement scheme. In summary, the first test phase was successful, and plans are now in place to move on to a second test phase starting in November. You can read the full letter here.