The General Optical Council has contacted registrants about the UK Government a pilot of its settlement scheme for European Union (EU) citizens currently living in the UK who wish to remain after 2020. The pilot is open to employees in the health and social care sector, including all GOC registrants. Read on to find out more advice and information from the Government:
What is the EU Settlement Scheme?
In advance of the UK’s exit from the EU on 29 March 2019, the UK government has committed to protect the rights of EU citizens and their family members currently living in the UK. This includes the right to live here, work here and access public services such as healthcare and benefits. To retain these rights after 31 December 2020, EU citizens must apply for UK immigration status under the EU Settlement Scheme. Further detail on the Settlement Scheme can be found on GOV.UK.
What is the pilot?
The Home Office is testing the EU Settlement Scheme through a series of pilots ahead of the public launch. This second phase of the pilot has started and runs until 21 December this year. This covers employees in the higher education and health and social care sectors.
This pilot is testing the application process that EU citizens and their family members will use when the scheme opens fully next year. Feedback about your experience will be used to make improvements to the process before the Scheme fully launches to the public by 30 March 2019.
Who is eligible?
You will only be able to take part in the pilot if you are working in the health and social care sector, and you are:
- an EU citizen and have a valid biometric passport (this is an e-passport which has a digital chip); or
- a non-EU family member of an EU citizen and have a biometric residence card with ‘EU Right to Reside’ on the back, which you applied for on or after 6 April 2015
Irish citizens enjoy a right of residence in the UK that is not reliant on the UK’s membership of the EU. They will not be required to apply for status under the EU Settlement Scheme, but may do so if they wish. For more information on who can apply to this pilot, visit GOV.UK.
If you are eligible to apply to the EU Settlement Scheme pilot you will need to complete a short and simple online application form to:
- prove your identity;
- show that you live in the UK; and
- declare any serious criminal convictions.
Application process during the pilot:
This phase of the pilot is now live and the link to start your application is https://apply-for-eu-settled-status.homeoffice.gov.uk/start/eu-settlement.
To apply for status under the EU Settlement Scheme you will need to complete an online application:
- Verify your identity – You will need to have a valid biometric passport or biometric residence card (issued by the Home Office) to apply in this pilot. All applicants must use the EU Exit: ID Document Check app to verify their identity. This is currently only available to download on Android devices – an easy way to check if your device can use this app, is if your device has the technology to make contactless payments. A guide to using the app can be found here. If you cannot access this app during the pilot, there will be alternative ways for you to verify your identity once the scheme opens fully next year. After using the app to verify your identity, you can complete the rest of the application either on that device or on any smartphone, laptop or computer.
- Criminality check – You will need to complete the criminality check by declaring any criminal convictions. Only serious or persistent criminality will affect your application. This should not affect the vast majority of EU citizens and their family members.
- Verify your residence in the UK – You will need to provide evidence of your residence in the UK. There are a number of ways you can do this. The easiest is to provide your National Insurance number. The Home Office will then check UK tax and certain benefits data and use those records to help work out how long you have been resident in the UK. You’ll get a result of this check straightaway. If you agree with the result, you can accept it and complete your application. If you disagree, this is not a problem, as you will be able to upload additional evidence of your residence. Information on the other types of evidence you can upload can be found on GOV.UK. Alternatively, if you have a valid permanent residence document or valid indefinite leave to enter or remain, you will just need to provide proof of that status.
- Pay any application fee – An application costs £65 for those aged 16 or over, but is free if you have a valid permanent residence document or valid indefinite leave to enter or remain.
Please note that making an application in this pilot is entirely voluntary. There will be no change to your current rights under EU law until the end of the planned implementation period on 31 December 2020. If you choose not to apply during this phase you will be able to apply once the scheme is fully open by 30 March 2019 and at any time up until 30 June 2021.
For any questions about an application made during the pilot, contact the EU Settlement Scheme Resolution Centre by calling 0300 123 7379 (inside the UK) or +44 (0) 203 080 0010 (outside the UK). Find out about call charges on www.gov.uk/call-charges. You can also ask a question using the online submissions form eu-settled-status-enquiries.service.gov.uk.