The UK Home Office has announced that from September 2023 people with pre-settled status under the EU Settlement Scheme should automatically have their status extended by two years if they have not yet obtained settled status by the time their pre-settled status expires. This is the UK Home Office’s response to the findings in Independent Monitoring Authority for the Citizens’ Rights Agreements v the Secretary of State for the Home Department  EWHC 3274 and is a welcome change.
This ‘enhancement’ should prevent the cliff-edge of pre-settled status expiring and prompt those with pre-settled status to apply for settled status once they reach their 5-year qualifying period. It could also help those who have been absent from the UK since being granted pre-settled status.
However, the Rule laid before Parliament does not say that this will be automatic across the board, but that the Home Office ‘can’ have their pre-settled status extended without having to make an application. It remains to be seen in any updated Home Office guidance what circumstances could lead to the change not being automatic as the Home Office press release suggests.
Those with pre-settled status should consider their position and ensure the following:
- their online platform is up to date, especially if they have obtained a new passport or ID card since being granted pre-settled status.
- Keep records of residence in the UK, for example council tax bills, water bills, P60’s or self-assessment tax returns and keep a record of their absences from the UK. Absences of over 180 days in any 12-month period can affect eligibility for settled status.
- Diarise their pre-settled status expiry date (usually 5 years from the date it was granted).
- Diarise when they are eligible to apply for settled status (usually 5 years from the date they arrived in the UK) and apply when eligible.
- If working in the UK, generate a share code to send to their employer either when their pre-settled status has been extended or when they have been granted settled status.
If you have any questions in relation to the EU Settlement Scheme and eligibility for settled status, please contact Paul McCarthy.
As of 31 March 2023, an estimated 5.6 million Europeans and their family members had secured their rights in the UK through the hugely successful EUSS, with an estimated 2.1 million holding pre-settled status and an estimated 3.5 million holding settled status.