European Union nationals in the UK may well be very familiar with the Home Office’s EU Settlement Scheme (EUSS).  Those EEA nationals who have lived in the UK and meet the relevant criteria are eligible to apply for Settled Status.  Otherwise, again subject to meeting the criteria, eligible applicants are able to apply for Pre-Settled Status.

The High Court has however ruled against the Home Office on the legality of its two-step EUSS application process.  Essentially, the High Court ruled that requiring EEA and Swiss nationals holding Pre-Settled Status to make a further application under the EUSS for Settled Status was an unlawful requirement.  The Home Office, rather tellingly, indicated that it would not appeal the decision of the High Court and only this month, the Home Office have confirmed that from September of this year, those with Pre-Settled Status will automatically have their status extended in the UK by two years before it expires if they have not already obtained Settled Status.

It is expected that the Home Office will try to grant Settled Status automatically after five years of residence in the UK to eligible applicants if they are able to determine from their records, including from other Government Departments, that the requirements under the EUSS are met.  It is quite possible that the Home Office will communicate with HMRC to obtain any relevant information.  It is however important that employers continue to conduct the appropriate Right to Work Checks for those holding Pre-Settled Status as even if their status is automatically extended by the Home Office, the new end date will still need to be recorded every two years.

For advice on this or any other immigration issues, please do not hesitate to contact Sohan Sidhu.