(Un)Settled status: YSJ Law Clinic students to help EU citizens apply for status

By Lauren Kelly

In York St John’s Law Clinic, a group of students has recently been working with the charity Settled to assist EU citizens with their pre-settled and settled status applications. These statuses ensure that EU citizens will be able to continue to live and work in the UK as citizens after the end of the Brexit transition period. If they do not make a successful application to the settlement scheme, they will become unlawfully resident in the United Kingdom from 1 July 2021, regardless of how long they have lived and worked here, whether they are married to a British citizen or have British children.

Settled status can be granted to EU citizens who have started living in the UK before the 31 December 2020, and who have lived in the UK continuously for five years (this is known as continuous residency). EU citizens who do not have continuous residency are able to apply for pre-settled status as long as they are living here before 31 December 2020. After living in the UK for five years, citizens with pre-settled status are then able to apply for settled status, providing they have spent at least 6 months in the UK in any 12-month period.

As part of our training to qualify with the OISC (Office of the Immigration Service Commissioner) as Level 1 EU settlement scheme advisors, we were lucky enough to take part in a session by Settled, who are all trained as OISC Level 1 EUSS advisors. They deal with enquiries from EU citizens on a daily basis and provide guidance and support for those making applications. Settled aims to guide, inform and assist EU citizens who are at risk of being left behind due to their specific life circumstances.  

Chris Benn, a solicitor from Seraphus, also provided a great insight into the practical issues that Immigration lawyers are facing when assisting EU citizens with their applications. As a firm, Seraphus’ goal is to approach migration law from a human rights perspective. They informed us of the most common issues that we will be most likely to come across, and explained how difficult the process of applying for their immigration status can be – especially when there is a language barrier. EU citizens are extremely vulnerable due to the communication barrier and the possible practical difficulties with making applications, so both Seraphus and Settled are providing extremely vital support for these citizens.

Employers, landlords and health service providers will be checking eligibility to live and work in the UK, so it is essential that EU citizens protect their rights by applying to the scheme. The deadline for applications is 30 June 2020.

If you know anyone who would like free assistance with their settled status application, or some advice, please let them know that YSJ Law Clinic and Settled can help: lawclinic@yorksj.ac.uk