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Post-Brexit consequences: UK count founds Home Office’s interpretation of ‘EU settlement scheme’ unlawful

Under the Brexit Withdrawal Agreement[1], the UK and the EU agreed that EU citizens in the UK and vice versa could remain in the countries they lived if they have settled their status in countries of their residence before Brexit (settlement scheme).

Under the existing settlement scheme, EU citizens permanently living in the UK had to reapply for the upgrade of their ‘settled status’ every 5 years. Otherwise, if they fail to reapply in the end of these 5 years, they would lose their right to work, rent, their access to healthcare etc.

December 21, UK court has found this rule (i.e. obligation to reapply every five years) unlawful as it ‘purports to abrogate the right of permanent residence’[2]. The loss of such rights and further deportation should be a consequence of severe breach of rules set out by the Brexit Withdrawal Agreement, not of a failure to apply for a re-settled status upgrade. Until then, EU citizens living in the UK have a right to enjoy all the rights applicable to settled status, even if they failed to reapply within the set term.

The issued decision may be useful for citizens of EU, Switzerland, Norway, Iceland or Liechtenstein who already have a settled status in the UK and intend to renew their status to stay in the UK but may have failed to do so.

[1] https://commission.europa.eu/strategy-and-policy/relations-non-eu-countries/relations-united-kingdom/eu-uk-withdrawal-agreement_en.

[2] https://caselaw.nationalarchives.gov.uk/ewhc/admin/2022/3274.