Settled Status scheme
Ministers released further information on the settled status registration scheme. There is now a 40-page statement of intent as well as draft Immigration Rules.
Roughly 3.5 million EU nationals will need to apply for settled status or pre settled status by June 2021, depending on whether they have lived in the UK for five years or less. This will be a UK immigration status confirming the right to live and UK in Britain, underpinned by a draft Withdrawal Agreement between the UK and EU.
We now know that the applications will cost £65 for adults and half that for children under the age of 16. There is no deadline for when people can begin to apply but it will be fully open by the 30th March 2019.
The Immigration minister, Carline Nokes, repeated assurances are that the Home Office’s default position will be to grant rather than refuse applications in her statement to MP’s. The Home Secretary, Sajid Javid had earlier admitted to a House of Lords committee that the past quality of Home Office decision-making and the department’s culture is not up to stand and needs approving.
Sajid Javid said that the three key requirements of a successful application under the scheme would be;
· Presence in the UK
· EU nationality
· No serious criminal record
The statement of intent fleshed out the requirements and application process but it is not a comprehensive guide as yet. There are no details of when people can apply by paper as opposed to online at present.
No physical document will be issued as proof of status. This is potentially a problem for people who have to prove their right to rent and work. It is not clear whether landlords and employers will check an online database.
The following are points EU nationals maybe interested in that have been confirmed:
· Confirmation that those who are continuously resident in the UK but who happen to aboard when post Brexit transition ends on the 31st December 2020 will be covered by the scheme
· Confirmation that EU citizens will not be required to show that they meet all the requirements of the current free movement rules, such as any requirements to have held comprehensive sickness insurance
· Confirmation that applicants will not need to pay the Immigration Health Surcharge on top of their £65
· Those who get pre settled status will not have to pay again to get full settled status
· The scheme will be open to citizens of non- EU Iceland, Liechtenstein, Norway and Switzerland
· The scheme will be open to Surinder Singh family members but not Zambrano, Chen or Ibrahim/Teixeira carers
· Irish citizens do not need to apply for settled status if they do not wish to
Immigration minister reveals first results of paragraph 322(5) investigation
The first phase of the Home Office investigation into migrants being refused settlement because of tax discrepancies shows that the refusals were correct.
Caroline Nokes laid our the initial finding from a review of several hundred paragraph 322(5) cases and the letter clearly shows a pattern where applicants have exaggerated their earnings to the Home Office to claim enough points to obtain leave to remain or indefinite leave to remain in the UK and then substantially under reported their earnings to HMRC to evade tax.
Campaigners had accused the Home Office of systematically refusing applications on the basis of minor deifferences. Caroline Nokes now says that the cases reviewed show that the tax discrepancies used to justify refusal were significant:
In 249 of the initial 281 cases reviewed, applicants amended their HMRC records by more than £10,000. In many of the remaining cases, though the differences were less than £10,000, they were nevertheless substantial.
In 241 cases, the amendments were made more than three years after the initial submission to HMRC, with the majority looking to amend their records within one year of making a further application to the Home Office.
Such amendments appear to have been made only for the years for which points were claimed in previous Tier 2 applications, not for the intervening years.
Applicants were given the chance to explain their situation. Most of those who did provided no further explanation other than that there were errors by their accountants.
Paragraph 322(5) says that an application for leave to remain should normally be refused based on
the undesirability of permitting the person concerned to remain in the United Kingdom in the light of his conduct (including convictions which do not fall within paragraph 322(1C), character or associations or the fact that he represents a threat to national security.
The letter reiterated Sajid Javid’s promise that outstanding paragraph 322(5) decisions are on hold pending the outcome of the review. Addressing reports of some refusals being issued, Caroline Nokes says these have in fact been legal challenges to refusal decisions, which have already been made, in some cases 2-3 years ago.
The second phase of the review will look at a further 1671 cases and the review is expected to be completed in the next few weeks.