Exiting the European Union – Brexit

EU Settlement Scheme Applications: Important Message about COVID-19

The referendum on the United Kingdom’s membership of the European Union (EU) was held on Thursday 23 June 2016 when 51.9% of voters across the UK chose to leave the EU.

On 31 January 2020 the United Kingdom left the European Union and the Withdrawal Agreement concluded with the EU entered into force.

There is now a transition period until the end of 2020 while the UK and EU negotiate additional arrangements. The current rules on trade, travel and business for the UK and EU will continue to apply during the transition period. New rules will take effect on 1 January 2021.

On 31 December 2020, at the end of the transition period provided for in the Withdrawal Agreement, the UK will fully recover its economic and political independence. The UK will no longer be a part of the EU Single Market or the EU Customs Union.

Leaving the EU will mean a number of changes that will affect the lives of people living and working in South Ayrshire.

The Council is working closely with relevant partners to ensure we can be as prepared as possible and meet our statutory obligations.

The UK and Scottish Governments have produced useful guidance for people and businesses on how to prepare for the UK exiting the EU:

The websites include dedicated information for businesses and individuals as well as details on specific subject areas. Both sites are updated regularly as the situation moves forward.

More general information, news and announcements in relation to Brexit can also be found on the following Scottish Government website which is also updated regularly.

New immigration system

The UK Government has published more information on the new points-based immigration system that will be introduced from 1 January 2021. You can find more information on the new immigration system here.

There will be no change to the rights and status of EU citizens currently living in the UK who apply to the EU Settlement Scheme.

If you’re an EU, EEA or Swiss citizen living in the UK by 31 December 2020, you and your family members can apply to the EU Settlement Scheme to continue living in the UK after 30 June 2021.

More than 3.5 million applications have already been made to the EU Settlement Scheme and over 3.1 million grants of status under the scheme have already been made. Each of these is accompanied by a digital proof of that status which cannot be lost, stolen or tampered with. People can share their digital status using an online service if they choose.

Immigration Rules Changes

Updates to Immigration Rules were laid in Parliament on the 14 May 2020, which includes changes to the EU Settlement Scheme. The rule changes will widen access to the scheme to victims of domestic violence or abuse. If a family member’s relationship with an EEA citizen breaks down permanently as a result of domestic violence or abuse, this, coupled with their own continuous residence in the UK, will be recognised as part of their application.

This is consistent with the Government’s wider commitment to tackling domestic violence and abuse as well as protecting and supporting victims of it.

The rule changes also mean that a family member applying to the EU Settlement Scheme (EUSS) or for an EUSS family permit may also be required to provide a certified English translation of (or a Multilingual Standard Form to accompany) a document as evidence of the relevant family relationship.

In addition, the rule changes mean that family members of British or dual British-Irish citizens who are people of Northern Ireland will be able to apply for status under the EU Settlement Scheme.

Updates to Immigration Rules can be found here. https://assets.publishing.service.gov.uk/government/uploads/system/uploads/attachment_data/file/885020/CCS207_CCS0520583832-002_Explanatory_Memo_to_CP_232_PRINT.pdf

Apply to the EU Settlement Scheme today

The EU Settlement Scheme caseworkers are always looking for reasons to approve applications where possible and so it’s encouraged those eligible to apply to the scheme to do so today. If you or anyone you know needs help with an application, please contact the Settlement Resolution Centre on 0300 123 7379. Alternatively, you can ask a question in writing by email.

National Identity Cards at the border

EU, EEA, or Swiss citizens who have, or are eligible for, status under the EU Settlement Scheme will be able to use their national identity card to enter the UK until at least 31 December 2025. Thereafter, they will continue to be able to travel here on their national identity card, provided it meets International Civil Aviation Organisation standards.

For other EU, EEA and Swiss citizens, there will be no change to travel document requirements in 2020. The Home Office intends generally to phase out their use of national identity cards for travel to the UK and will set out plans in due course. The Home Office will announce further details, including the date for this change, well in advance to allow travellers good time to plan their trips.

Online Application Help for the EU Settlement Scheme and UK Visa assisted digital support in South Ayrshire

Carnegie Library, Ayr and the Marr Educational Resources Centre, Troon are equipped to provide digital support to EU citizens living in South Ayrshire to assist EU citizens and their families with their application for Settled Status.

Bookings should be made via We Are Digital, not directly with the above centres. To find out whether you or someone you know can get help using a computer or device to make an EU Settlement Scheme or visa application call 03333 445675. Lines are open from 9am to 6pm Monday to Friday and 9am to 4pm Saturday. You will be asked a few questions about the kind of assistance you need and if appropriate an appointment will be made for you at the Centre that is most convenient for you.

The Royal Mail is preparing for Brexit. Their dedicated Brexit page at www.royalmail.com/brexit provides advice and guidance on exporting items once the UK has left the EU.

There are also a number of other useful links with Brexit information, advice and guidance.

EU Settlement Scheme Applications: Important Message about COVID-19 (update 28th May 2020)

The EU Settlement Scheme continues to perform well. With more than a year left to go until the deadline for applications, over 3.5 million people across the UK have applied and more than 3.2 million applications are concluded.

We are pleased to confirm that Home Office support services and application routes have now all fully reopened in line with public health guidance.

There continues to be a range of support available online, by email and telephone for those who have questions or need help applying.

Applicants can use the EU Exit: ID Document Check app to complete the identity stage of their application. The postal route for submitting identity documents has been reopened for applicants who are unable to use the EU Exit: ID Document Check app to verify their identity.

The EU Settlement Resolution Centre continues to provide support 7 days a week by email and telephone. Email enquiries can be made via the online contact form available here.

There are 57 voluntary and community sector organisations across the UK which can offer assistance online, over the telephone or by email to help more vulnerable or at-risk people to apply. Please check with the individual organisations for further details.

Additional support is available for those who do not have the appropriate access, skills or confidence to apply online through Assisted Digital, which can offer assistance over the telephone. Unfortunately, due to the ongoing Covid-19 (Coronavirus) situation, the Council has closed all South Ayrshire libraries until further notice. This includes Carnegie Library, Ayr and Marr Educational Resources Centre, Troon. Therefore, the hands on digital support that these two locations would normally provide in collaboration with Assisted Digital for EUSS applications is currently not available.

There is still more than 12 months before the deadline of 30 June 2021 for applications to the EU Settlement Scheme. There is plenty of support available online to support those looking to apply. There are also communications materials translated into 26 languages and alternative formats that can also be requested.

For the latest information on the scheme please visit www.gov.uk/settled-status-eu-citizens-families.