Now that the UK has left the EU, EU nationals living in London have had to apply to secure their rights to continue to live, work and study in the UK through the government’s EU Settlement Scheme.
Under the scheme, EU citizens who have lived in the UK for five or more years have had to apply for and obtain confirmation of settled status.
EU citizens resident in the UK for fewer than five years, as well as any EU nationals arriving between 30 March 2019 and December 2020, have had to apply for temporary pre-settled status until they reach the necessary five years for settled status.
The deadline for EUSS applications has now passed. However, eligible EU, EEA, Swiss citizens and their family members who did not apply by 30 June 2021 can make a late application where there are reasonable grounds to do so at: www.gov.uk/eusettlementscheme
There is no deadline for applications from eligible joining family members, who can join those with EUSS status at any point. Further information for joining family members is available here on GOV.UK.
London boroughs have been providing information and guidance to EU citizens on how best to secure settled status or pre-settled status, and have also targeted more vulnerable groups to apply. Nonetheless there have been some hard-to-reach communities and groups that have still not applied for EUSS. Local authorities, as corporate parents, have also been required to support looked after children and care leavers in their applications for settled status or pre-settled status.
Update on Statistics:
The EUSS quarterly statistics report published on 25 November 2021 on GOV.UK showed:
- Total applications for EUSS were 6.29 million for the UK to October 2021, with 236,800 received after the 30 June deadline. Total applications concluded to October were 5.91 million (463,900 more than the total to June).
- Total London applications up to September 2021 were 2.12 million (with 227,800 applications made in the June quarter and a further 53,600 applications made after the 30 June scheme deadline). Applications concluded totalled 2 million, and there were 117,500 applications outstanding in London at the end of September 2021.
- Of all London applications concluded to September, 51% were granted settled status and 44% pre-settled, and 113,000, nearly 6%, had other outcomes.
- London boroughs with the highest numbers of applications were Newham (146,900), Brent (134,900) and Ealing (109,900), while a further eight boroughs had each received over 75,000 applications. Newham had the most applications of any local authority in the country.
- Top nationalities of applicants in London were Romanians (372,300), Italians (253,200), Polish (212,400), Portuguese (171,200) and Spanish (163,700). 189,900 applications were received from non-EEA country nationals.
Additional EUSS related pressures:
Peoples’ benefits should not be suspended whilst EUSS applications are pending, whilst a person appeals a negative EUSS decision, or until the DWP have exhausted all options to contact the individual and local authorities should not take action to suspend Housing Benefits of claimants who are also in receipt of another DWP benefit, unless instructed by LA-PED. Furthermore, if a claimant’s benefits are suspended, and they apply for EUSS within one calendar month, benefits can be reinstated until a decision on their pending EUSS application is made. However, a number of local authorities are now seeing a high number of suspensions within their boroughs, and in some cases without explanation. London boroughs continue to escalate these cases.
The following groups are ineligible for benefits and homelessness assistance, unless they have needs under the Care Act 2014, or Children Act 1989 in which case local authorities have safety net duties:
- Those with pre-settled status (when they have no qualifying right to reside)
- Those with a pending application when they have no right to reside on 31 December 2020 or a qualifying right to reside at the time of the application
- Those living in the UK by 31 December 2020 but have not applied to EUSS
- Those with leave to enter as a visitor/student/worker and subject to the NRPF condition
Therefore, a considerable number of individuals in London will not be able to access key benefits, and local authorities may face increased costs supporting EU nationals with no recourse to public funds (NRPF). According to the NRPF Network, 30 London boroughs were spending £37.2 million a year supporting 1991 households with NRPF when social services’ duties were engaged (end of March 2021); and 10% of supported families and 16% of supported adults were EEA/EU nationals.
There is a risk of homelessness pressures increasing on local authorities where there are duties to provide accommodation and support (ie 44% of concluded cases in London are pre-settled, so there could be a long-term support commitment of up to 4 years until these individuals have obtained settled status).
For more information, please contact Eva Barnsley, Principal Policy and Projects Officer (Asylum and Migration).