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Home Office U turns on rights of EU citizens

Home Office U-turns on rights of EU citizens

The revised position of the Home Office concerning EU citizens’ right to reside in the UK

Background: EU Settlement Scheme Deadline

UK’s EU Settlement Scheme post-Brexit also had a cutoff date for EU, EEA and Swiss nationals to apply for residence rights within the UK. As the deadline was approaching, EU nationals were highly worried about what would happen if they failed to make this deadline.


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Home Office Response to the Missed Deadline

This significant policy change by the Home Office was directed at protecting the economic and civil liberties of latecomers to the EU Settlement Scheme. People who failed to meet the June 30 deadline will provisionally retain their rights during the processing of their applications and any appeals.

The rights of family members to remain in the UK during applications and appeals will also be protected for up to three months after their arrival from such family members of EU citizens.

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Campaigners’ and Diplomats’ Role

This proposal was after EU diplomats and campaigners lobbied extensively following the impression that some EUs were abused.

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Statistics and Processing

The office has received over six million applications, with more than 5.1 million granted residence status. About 400,000 applications are carried in the backlog.

The goal of the government is to process most applications in five days, even if it may take up to a month.

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What happens to those without a decision?

Individuals waiting for a decision would have their rights protected by the UK government. The applicants are provided with a Certificate of Application to prove their eligibility for working or renting while waiting for the decision.

Consequences of Missing the Deadline

Not all EU citizens without application by the cutoff time are automatically denied benefits or deported. They could also be subject to enforcement proceedings after a 28 days grace period, if they did not apply.

Deportation is not automatic. Before taking any action, the government will consider individual cases.


Campaigners’ Views and Further Action

The announcement was welcome by campaigners, who suggested the government should do more like getting in touch with people to encourage them to apply and backdating rights.


Following the approval of late cases by the UK Home Office, a more lenient attitude post-Brexit is observed. This measure seeks to protect the liberties of EU citizens and their relatives in UK illustrating readiness of the authorities to change its policies due to advocacy or practical realias. Even after this development, there is still more outreach and support needed to ensure all the eligible persons get their residency right.

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