1 August 2023

The UK government has just confirmed the news: from September 2023, EU nationals with pre-settled status will automatically have their status extended by two years before it expires if they have not obtained or applied for settled status. The process will be carried out automatically by the Home Office and individuals will be informed directly of this extension.

This measure will ensure that temporary residence status is maintained if an application for settled status is forgotten or refused. The British government took this step because the High Court in London, acting on a referral from the Independent Monitoring Authority (an independent body set up under the Withdrawal Agreement to safeguard the rights of EU nationals in the UK), had ruled that the system for switching between pre-settled and settled status was “unlawful” and contrary to the Withdrawal Agreement negotiated with the European Union. The judge ruled that it was not possible to revoke a person’s residence rights on the grounds that they had not applied to move from pre-settled to settled status.

Towards an automatic transition from pre-settled to settled status from 2024

“This automatic extension will ensure that the many citizens of the EU, other EEA countries and Switzerland and their family members in the UK can continue to make an extremely valuable contribution to British society without fear of losing their immigration status simply by forgetting to apply for settled status,” said Lord Murray, Under-Secretary of State for Migration Policy.

According to the latest Home Office figures, by 31 March 2023, around 5.6 million EU citizens and their family members had obtained status under the EU Settlement Scheme, including around 2.1 million with pre-settled status and around 3.5 million with settled status. The government has also announced that, from 2024, the transition from temporary status to permanent residence will take place automatically, after verification of compliance with the conditions for obtaining the status (including not having been absent from the UK for more than six months out of twelve under pre-settled status). “Safeguards will be put in place to ensure that settled status is not wrongly granted”, added the under-secretary.

French Morning London – Leila Lamnaouer, 27 July 2023 – Photo credit: Cmspic / Shutterstock.com