What do the latest quarterly EU Settlement Scheme statistics show? | Fieldfisher
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What do the latest quarterly EU Settlement Scheme statistics show?

Joanna Hunt


United Kingdom

The latest quarterly EU Settlement Scheme statistics were published in February and show that the number of applications remain high. As the news that the government is being accused of leaving EU citizens in limbo over post Brexit residence, our head of immigration Joanna Hunt demystifies the regulations and the implications for the employment 'crisis' that is said to currently exist.

The latest Government statistics are made up of late applications, repeat applications for those with pre-settled status who now need settled status and family members applying to join EUSS status holders in the UK. The good news is that the rejection rate is still fairly low at 4% which supports what we have been hearing that the Home Office has been flexible in their approach to those applicants who are applying late.
The numbers also hint at some of the remaining concerns with the EUSS process and this is something we are seeing in practice at Fieldfisher in terms of our incoming enquiries and workload.
The number of outstanding applications remains high and the Home Office is currently working through a backlog. This means there are still thousands of EU nationals who may have difficulties demonstrating their right to work in the UK or rent a flat as their applications are undecided. The Home Office's support for applicants has also been criticised with recent reports revealing that the Home Office's helpline leaves nearly 50% of their calls unanswered.
Many EU nationals will still need to negotiate the EU Settlement Scheme either for their family members or for themselves if they need to apply for settled status. It is therefore vitally important that the closure of the scheme to new applicants in late June 2021 does not divert attention and resources away from this route. The service standards needs to remain high to ensure that EU nationals and their family members are able to secure their long term residency in the UK.
What are the implications for the UK's employment landscape?
Delays with processing applications and issues with accessing helplines can all add to the sense of frustration many EU applicants feel having to regularise their status when previously they have been able to live and work in the UK free of any restrictions. This feeling that they simply are not welcome can certainly be a 'push' factor for many EU workers, accelerating plans to relocate from the UK, and reducing the pool of talent employers in the UK can access.
The delays with processing can also cause issues for employers who need their workers to have evidence of their right to work in the UK in place quickly so they can start work. This can lead to start dates being pushed back or workers choosing to take up jobs elsewhere. This all exacerbates the skills shortages and recruitment challenges many businesses face.
For more information or for any immigration support, please contact our team.

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