1 October 2020

The clock is ticking down for EU nationals to apply under the Settled Status Scheme to secure their right to live and work in the UK after the Brexit transition ends.  Applications must be made before 30 June 2021.  If you miss this deadline, you may be classed as an ‘irregular migrant’.

The numbers so far

According to provisional Home Office figures to the end of August 2020, more than 3.9 million applications for Settled Status or Pre-Settled Status have been received.

Over half of those, at least 2 million, have already been granted Settled Status and some 1.5 million were granted Pre-Settled Status, where they would need to reapply again after living in the country for five years to gain permanent residence.

But over 10,000 applications were refused, at least 31,000 were withdrawn or void and more than 38,000 were invalid.  That means over 75,000 people (not counting those that have yet to apply under the scheme) do not as yet have Settled Status or Pre-Settled Status.

Dealing with a Settled Status or Pre-Settled Status Refusal

If your Settled Status or Pre-Settled Status application has been refused, it is crucial to obtain expert legal advice from an experienced immigration lawyer.  They will examine the reasons for the refusal and swiftly establish the best course of action.  

If you forgot to submit certain evidence or put forward incorrect evidence regarding the amount of time you have lived in the UK, it may be best to submit a new application containing the correct information.  This would also apply if you have made a mistake on the application.

However, if your application has been refused because an official at UK Visas and Immigration (UKVI) made a mistake when examining your application or misinterpreted something contained in the supporting documents, then you may wish to apply for an Administrative Review.   An Administrative Review will also be required if the decision maker failed to apply or incorrectly applied the published guidance relating to the Settled Status Scheme.

An Administrative Review will involve a different UKVI decision maker re-examining your application and any supporting evidence.  Your immigration Solicitor will review your application and the reason for your refusal and write a detailed letter to UKVI explaining why an Administrative Review is necessary.

Appealing a Settled Status application refusal

The accompanying explanatory note to The Immigration (Citizens’ Rights Appeals) (EU Exit) Regulations 2020, which came into effect after 11pm on EU exit day (31 January 2020), states that:

“This instrument provides that, where a person makes a valid application for leave under the EUSS, or for an EUSS family or travel permit, on or after exit day, they will have a right of appeal against a decision to:

  • refuse the application;
  • in the case of an application under the EUSS, grant limited leave to enter or remain (pre-settled status under the scheme) where they believe they should have been granted indefinite leave to enter or remain (settled status under the scheme).”

Appeals are made to the First Tier Tribunal and must be lodged within 14 days if you are appealing from within the UK or 28 days if you are outside the country when making the appeal.

It is essential to obtain advice from an experienced immigration lawyer if you wish to appeal a Settled Status or Pre-Settled Status refusal.  In many cases, the UKVI reverses its refusal decision at the point where they receive notice that the original decision will be appealed.  It is unlikely that such an outcome could be achieved without expert legal advice.

Judicial review of Settled Status or Pre-Settled Status decisions

If every other avenue has failed to overturn the refusal of your Settled Status or Pre-Settled Status refusal, you can apply for Judicial Review.  This route is expensive and time-consuming and must only be used as a last resort.  Judicial Review is the process by which the Courts examine the legality of a decision made by a public body.  If Judicial Review is required to ensure you have the right to live and work in the UK under the Settled Status Scheme, your immigration Solicitor will manage the application process for you.

Final words

Receiving notice that your application for Settled Status or Pre-Settled Status has been refused can be a stressful experience.  However, by instructing an experienced immigration lawyer, you can be confident that you will get the best advice on how to have the refusal decision swiftly reversed.

For expert advice on what to do if your Settled Status or Pre Settled Status is refused, please call us on +44 (0)20 7799 1600 or fill in our contact form.

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