To retain their rights after 31 December 2020, eligible EU citizens must apply for status under the EU Settlement Scheme. The current position of the UK Government is that EU citizens who do not register under the Scheme by the deadline will be treated as overstayers.
The Scope of the Scheme
People residing in the United Kingdom by 31 December 2020 will be eligible to apply and have to do so by 30 June 2021. Certain close family members will be able to join resident EU citizens after the 31 December 2020 and they will have three months after their arrival to apply for status under the Scheme. The timeframes may change slightly in light of the UK leaving the EU without a deal.
The Pilot - testing the Settlement Scheme
The EU Settlement Scheme is currently being tested in various pilots ahead of the public launch of the service (due by March 2019).
The first phase of the pilot took place between 28 August and 17 October 2018 and was extended to EU citizens and their family members employed at selected NHS trusts along with students/staff from selected Liverpool Universities. All 1053 applications for settled status under this pilot were successful and the applicants were granted Status under the Scheme.
The overall feedback was that the application was quick and easy to complete with most applicants completing the application within half an hour, or less.