EU Settlement Scheme: Home office to improve system for claimants – Europeans to benefit

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European citizens, for the most part, had until June 30 to apply for ESS, which awarded EEA and Swiss citizens with either settled or pre-settled status. Despite the deadline having passed, the DWP recently urged would-be claimants to apply.

There are a number of circumstances where eligible claimants can apply beyond the cut-off point.

In early July, the DWP urged Europeans to claim even where the initial deadline was missed.

As the DWP detailed at the time: “EEA and Swiss citizens and their family members can make a late application to the EU Settlement Scheme to continue living in the UK.

“You must apply as soon as possible. You must have started living in the UK by 31 December 2020.”

The Government detailed a person can still apply for ESS beyond the original deadline if they had “reasonable grounds” for why it was missed or, they had certain extenuating circumstances.

More recently, the Home Office confirmed it will be working to make the entire system more streamlined.

On July 7, Charlotte Nichols, the Labour MP for Warrington North, asked the following question in the Commons: “To ask the Secretary of State for the Home Department, whether she has plans to provide physical documentation incorporating secure QR code technology to EU nationals residing in the UK of their Settled or Pre-Settled immigration status.”

On July 16, Kevin Foster, the post of Parliamentary Under-Secretary for the Home Office, answered this question.

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Mr Foster said: “We are developing a border and immigration system which is ‘digital by default’, which over time means we will increasingly replace physical and paper-based products and services with accessible, easy to use online and digital services.

“Individuals continue to receive written notice of their immigration status by email or letter, which they can keep for their personal records if they wish and can use when contacting the Home Office.

“We continue to welcome feedback on how we can improve our services.

“Home Office officials have met with the three million group to discuss the use of a QR code system and are now considering the feasibility of the suggested approach.”

On top of this, UK Visas and Immigration launched updated guidance on the support available to those who need to make late applications.

It detailed: “There is a range of support available if you need help in completing your application, from over the phone advice to one-to-one support, as well as help with translations and technology.

“For questions about your application, you can call the Settlement Resolution Centre on 0300 123 7379 from inside the UK or +44 (0)20 3080 0010 from outside the UK (Monday to Friday, 8am to 8pm and Saturday to Sunday, 9.30am to 4.30pm).

“Those who don’t feel confident applying online can contact Assisted Digital on 03333 445 675 or email [email protected] for support.

“Find more information about Assisted Digital support.

“The ID document scanning service is available to complete the identity verification step if you do not have access to the EU Exit: ID Document Check app.

“There may be an administrative fee to use this service. Find an ID scanning location.

“Seventy two grant funded organisations help those with additional needs including the disabled, elderly, isolated, those with language or technology barriers, victims of domestic abuse or those with other vulnerabilities. Find organisations that offer support.”

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