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The Gap in the App: The Home Office must develop its message about Settled Status

  • United Kingdom
  • Employment law
  • Global mobility and immigration


A report in The Guardian of 15th July noted a technical problem with the EU Settlement Scheme which had not previously been identified.

Citizens of EEA countries who obtain “pre-settled status”, based on having lived in the UK for a period of less than five years, can obtain confirmation of their right to remain permanently, “settled status”, after five years. Following a request from a Swedish citizen to do so, it became apparent that the relevant Home Office app is not ready and such applications are not yet possible. This has prevented the applicant from applying for British citizenship immediately after the application.

A Home Office spokesman advised the app would be changed so that such applications will become available by the end of July.

The Immigration Minister and Home Secretary have replied to criticism of the system by emphasising the number of applications successfully made to date, with no significant discussion about areas which have been specified as inadequate. This is more serious; a key part of the functionality of the system remains incomplete, almost a year after the first applications for settled status were received.

For now, it would appear sensible for applicants not to seek pre settled status if, before the end of 2020, they will accrue the five years of residence to qualify for settled status.

Feedback regarding the settled status app itself has been positive from our many workshops on the subject to date, but this appears an example of poor communication from the Home Office. If the remaining 2.5 million EEA citizens in the UK are to be persuaded to register for settled status, that needs to improve.