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EU Settlement Scheme : what about those who have missed the deadline?

20 July 2021 Grace McGill Blog

 

The UK has left the European Union and free movement ended on 31 December 2020. A six month Grace period followed to enable eligible EU nationals and their family members who were resident in the UK by 31 December 2020 to apply to remain here under the EU Settlement Scheme. This Grace period ended on 30 June 2021.

From 1 July 2021, all EU nationals and their family members require to obtain lawful legal status in the UK under the domestic immigration rules just in the same way as all non British nationals are required to do. EU Nationals will require to evidence pre-settled or settled status ( or a pending application )    

But what about those who have missed the deadline?

Reasonable grounds for failing to meet the deadline

In line with the Citizens’ Rights Agreements, there remains scope, indefinitely, for a person eligible for status under the EU Settlement Scheme to make a late application to the scheme where, in light of all the circumstances and reasons, there are reasonable grounds for their failure to meet the deadline applicable to them. Where a person who has failed to meet the deadline applicable to them wishes to apply to the EU Settlement Scheme, they must make a valid application under Appendix EU – online or on the relevant paper application form – and provide information with the application setting out their grounds for failing to meet that deadline. The Home Office published guidance provides additional information found in  "Appendix EU” and a non-exhaustive list of potential examples where there may be reasonable grounds for missing the original deadline :

  • Children in Care
  • A physical or mental incapacity and/or care or support needs
  • A serious medical condition or significant medical treatment (including COVID-19)
  • a victim of modern slavery
  • abusive or controlling relationship or situation
  • Other compelling practical or compassionate reasons
  • Ceased to be exempt from immigration control
  • Existing limited leave to enter or remain

Each case is fact sensitive and individuals will need to provide evidence to demonstrate why they couldn't meet the deadline. In all cases, the relevant test is whether there are reasonable grounds for the person’s failure to meet the deadline applicable to them under the EU Settlement Scheme. In general, the more time which has elapsed since the deadline applicable to the person under the scheme, the harder it will be for them to satisfy the decision-maker that, at the date of application, there are reasonable grounds for their failure to meet that deadline.

In all cases, a person may make a late application to the EU Settlement Scheme based on having reasonable grounds for failing to meet the deadline and there doesn’t appear to be a further deadline imposed for such circumstances.

Where the application under Appendix EU is deemed valid and it is accepted that there are reasonable grounds for failure to meet the deadline applicable to them under the EU Settlement Scheme, the application will be considered in terms of the general suitability and eligibility requirements of Appendix EU and in line with the guidance on the scheme.

The policy confirms that in line with the general approach under the EU Settlement Scheme of looking to grant status, rather than for reasons to refuse, a flexible and pragmatic approach will be adopted, in light of the circumstances of each case.  

Where a person has already made a late application to the EU Settlement Scheme, with reasonable grounds for failing to meet the deadline applicable to them, and this application has been refused (and any application for administrative review of, or any appeal against, that decision was unsuccessful), then they will not normally be able to establish that there are reasonable grounds for them to make a further late application to the scheme.

Whether they can establish such reasonable grounds will, however, depend on the particular circumstances of their case.

 

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