ArticleNew hope on the horizon for late EUSS applicants

In a significant policy shift, the UK Home Office has reversed its August decision regarding the rights of late EUSS applicants who were in the UK pre-Brexit. This turnaround comes in the wake of mounting pressure from campaigners and the EU community, following several high-profile cases of EU nationals facing severe repercussions due to the lack of awareness about the EU Settled Status scheme. The Home Office will now accept late applications for EUSS applicants from those who hold permanent residency cards but were unaware of the scheme.

Key developments in the Home Office decision:

  1. Late applications for EU Settled Status: The Home Office now acknowledges that a ‘lack of awareness’ of the EU Settled Status scheme constitutes reasonable grounds for late applications by those holding permanent residence cards. This change is a crucial reprieve for thousands of EU citizens who were at risk of losing their rights in the UK.
  2. Case examples highlighting the issue: Several EU citizens, including an Italian restaurateur and a tech investor, faced dire consequences due to the previous ruling. Their stories showcased the devastating impact of the lack of awareness and contributed to the reversal of the Home Office’s decision.
  3. New guidance for case workers: The Home Office has updated its guidance to case workers, emphasizing that late applications from permanent residency cardholders are reasonable. However, campaigners argue that the guidance needs clearer wording to ensure EU citizens’ rights are fully recognized.
  4. Concerns from campaigners:Despite the reversal, campaign groups like the3million express concerns. They argue that the new guidance, while a partial victory, doesn’t explicitly acknowledge that holding an EEA permanent residence card is sufficient for reasonable grounds for applying late.
  5. High Court ruling on pre-settled status: Responding to a High Court ruling, the Home Office has extended a two-year grace period for those with pre-settled status who failed to upgrade to settled status. This decision aims to cover any gaps and prevent the loss of rights, but campaigners worry about the potential misinterpretation of this extension by employers, landlords, and banks.

This reversal by the Home Office marks a significant step towards safeguarding the rights of EU citizens in the UK post-Brexit. The decision reflects the government’s response to legal challenges and public outcry, highlighting the complexities of immigration policies in the post-Brexit landscape. While the update offers relief to many, it also underscores the ongoing need for clear and accessible information about immigration statuses and rights for EU nationals in the UK. As the situation evolves, EU citizens and their advocates remain vigilant, ensuring that the rights promised post-Brexit are fully upheld.

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