3rd September 2018

What Happens to your EU National Tenants?

Written by Stewart Harding

The UK Government intends to leave the EU on 29 March 2019, but how will this affect your tenants from the EU?

In theory, the options are fairly straightforward, though of course things will become trickier for those with more complicated circumstances.

According to the UK Government’s ‘EU Settlement Scheme: Statement of Intent‘:

  • EU citizens and their family members who, by 31 December 2020, have been continuously resident in the UK for five years will be eligible for ‘settled status’, enabling them to stay indefinitely.
  • EU citizens and their family members who arrive by 31 December 2020, but will not yet have been continuously resident here for five years, will be eligible for ‘presettled status’, enabling them to stay until they have reached the five-year threshold. They can then also apply for settled status.
  • EU citizens and their family members with settled status or pre-settled status will have the same access as they currently do to healthcare, pensions and other benefits in the UK.
  • Close family members (a spouse, civil partner, durable partner, dependent child or grandchild, and dependent parent or grandparent) living overseas will still be able to join an EU citizen resident here after the end of the implementation period, where the relationship existed on 31 December 2020 and continues to exist when the person wishes to come to the UK. Future children are also protected.

First of all, it is important to establish whether your tenants have been in the UK for 5 years, or if not, if they arrived before 30 December 2015. If so, in the simplest of cases they will be able to make their application between March 2019 and June 2021. The details for this application have not yet been fully approved by Parliament, but they will need proof of their identity and UK residence for the 5 year period. This can include passport or ID card, HMRC information, utility bills, or bank statements. It will cost £65 for those aged 16 and over, and £32.50 for those under 16.

If they will have been in the UK for less than 5 years by the December 2020 deadline, they can apply for pre-settled status. This means if they then stay in the UK for 5 years they will be able to apply for settled status. This in theory could mean they moved to the UK the day before the deadline, but with an intention to stay for at least 5 years.

Getting settled status means you can continue to live and work in the UK for as long as you like. It will mean you’re eligible for:

  • public services, such as healthcare and schools
  • public funds and pensions
  • British citizenship, if you meet the requirements

It will not be necessary to show that someone has been in work for this time period, which is different than the requirement for the current permanent residence (where work, self-sufficiency or self-employment has to be evidenced). If they have had caring responsibilities, are disabled, or have been otherwise out of work, it is only the fact they have continuously been in the UK that is significant.

The above assumes that your tenant is an EU citizen, has no criminal convictions and has lived, or intends to live, in the UK for 5 years.

They will not need to apply for settled or pre-settled status if they are Irish citizens or have permanent leave to remain, but any family members from the outside the UK will need to apply.

 

Support

This application will only be available online, so you may need to provide support for tenants who don’t have access to the internet. They will be able to use their mobile phones to scan documents, meaning sending proof of identity in the post shouldn’t be necessary.

The No Recourse to Public Funds Network has identified the following groups at risk of failing to secure their rights:

  • Rough sleepers and people without secure accommodation
  • People with a disability, illness or mental health issue that may prevent them from being able to easily engage with the application process
  • People who lack capacity to make decisions
  • People providing unpaid care who do not have HMRC records or other evidence of their residency
  • Victims of trafficking or modern slavery living in controlled environments without access to information and/or records of their residency
  • People who have separated from an EU partner or are in abusive relationships and cannot access proof of their or their partner’s residency
  • People who do not routinely engage with services
  • People who do not hold bank accounts and/or who get paid cash in hand for work
  • People who are not IT-literate or own a smartphone/tablet
  • People who may experience language barriers
  • Children living within families and children in care
  • Long-term UK residents who are lacking documentation

If a tenant is in receipt of services from the local authority, that authority has a responsibility to proactively support them in this process.

 

What happens if the application is refused?

If someone does not fulfil the criteria for settled or pre-settled status, or does not apply they will not have a lawful basis to remain in the UK. However, the implications of that are not yet clear. It is likely that anyone in this situation will not be able to work, rent a property or open a bank account amongst other potential sanctions, and possible deportation.

There are plans for those who are refused to request a review, appeal to court, and make a further application if they are refused before 31 December 2020.

 

This post is by no means exhaustive as there will be many individuals with particular circumstances which may make the application process more complicated. However, it should at least give a basic overview of who is eligible to apply, and the likely outcome.

If you are supporting someone with no recourse to public funds, you may find the following sites useful:

Welsh Refugee Council

Housing Rights

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