The UK Home Office announced last week that applicants who make late applications to the EU Settlement Scheme (EUSS) will have temporary protection while their application is being processed.

The EUSS closed on 30 June and, as we reported in June, there have been extensive worries over the undefined status of possibly many thousands of applicants who failed to apply in time.

Publishing the new policy last week, the Home Office stated that: “The UK Home Office has set up all-inclusive provisions to allow those applicants with reasonable grounds for missing the deadline to apply to the EUSS. While the numbers applying late have been little compared to pre-deadline application numbers, to give further assurance to late applicants the UK government will look after their rights until their application and any appeal is processed.

“The UK government will also take a similar tactic with joining family members, who will have provisional protection for three months after their arrival in the UK and delaying the outcome of an EUSS application made during that period (and of any appeal).”

Latest guidance for employers published by the Home Office last week mentioned: “On 6 August 2021, the UK government stated provisional protection for more applicants to the EUSS. This denotes that those who apply from 1 July 2021, and joining family members, will carry on to have their rights protected while their application is determined.

“Late applicants and joining family members will currently be able to take up new employment while they expect the outcome of their application. The UK Home Office guidance persists that where a prospective employee has a Certificate of Application (CoA) fortifying a valid application to the EUSS made on or after 1 July 2021, employers should confirm this with the UK Home Office Employer Checking Service (ECS).”

The UK Home Office added that it would publish updated specified guidance for employers in due course.

In July 2021, the House of Lords European Affairs Committee published a detailed 71-page report on EU citizens’ rights after Brexit, which elevated worries about the status of elderly and vulnerable EU citizens in the UK who may have missed the EUSS deadline.

The Committee mentioned in its report: “We are worried by the low proportion of applications from older EU citizens, who are more susceptible to digital exclusion: just 2% of all applications to the Settlement Scheme are from over-65s. Some witnesses recommended that this may specify low take-up. We call on the UK Government to explain whether it shares these worries, and if so, what measures it plans to take to make sure that over-65s are assisted in making late EUSS applications.”

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