With the growing fear within those Europeans living in the UK of what will follow after Brexit, the EU Settlement Scheme was formally launched on 30 March 2019. Given that the Scheme was launched after 29 March 2019, it was evident that the UK would still pursue Brexit and it will still have an effect on the EU citizens living in the UK.
With a further delay to Brexit, until 31 October 2019, UK will still be a member of the EU, therefore putting off the effects of the final decision. This is causing further anxiety for the Europeans and the EU Settlement Scheme is a way of protecting their residency in the UK. This is a negotiation agreement that the UK and the EU reached, also known as the ‘Withdrawal agreement’.
If the UK chooses to remain in the EU beyond Halloween, then the Scheme will have to be revised or even removed completely. However, in the event that the UK has a no-deal Brexit, this Scheme will remain open to all EU citizens. It is estimated that the transition period will be until 31 December 2020 for applications and for those who arrived in the UK just before 31 December 2020 will have until 30 June 2021 to apply. However, this deadline is only an estimation and may be extended depending on the flow of applications.
There has been testing phases for the Schemes, where the UK Visa and Immigration (UKVI) received 230,000 applications. The Scheme is not only designed for EU citizens, but for EEA, non-EU citizens living in the UK, as well as Swiss citizens and their eligible family members. The purpose for the Scheme being open for all living in the UK is so that they are able to protect their residency after the UK leaves the EU.
There are exceptions to the applications; for example, if someone is an Irish citizen OR has an Indefinite Leave to Remain (ILR) visa, they will not have to go through the EU Settlement Scheme.