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Brian Cahill's picture

Dear MCAA Members in the UK,

I'm sharing some information I was forwarded by the University of Edinburgh yesterday about how EU Citizens can acquire settlement status in the run-up to Brexit. The communication mentions 31 December 2020 as the date when the residence status of EU citizens changes. I understand this is guaranteed by the British government. We can only hope that it does not depend on the avoidance of the so-called "No Deal Brexit".

This pilot scheme is for university and NHS employees and is being rolled out in steps across the UK. I presume this was due to pressure exerted by the universities and NHS about retaining highly valued staff members. Some further information about the pilot is available here: https://www.gov.uk/guidance/eu-settlement-scheme-pilot-applicant-eligibility The pilot is only for employees and not their families.

The general information for other categories of EU citizens resident in the UK is available here: https://www.gov.uk/settled-status-eu-citizens-families/applying-for-settled-status

Warm regards,

Brian Cahill



I am writing to tell you about the Home Office pilot of the EU Settlement Scheme taking place from 15 November 2018 and to give you information from the Home Office about how those eligible can apply in this pilot phase.


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 starts in November and runs until 21 December this year and 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 an employee of the University of Edinburgh, 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 citizen family member employed by the University of Edinburgh and have a biometric residence card with ‘EU Right to Reside’ on the back, which you have applied for on or after 6 April 2015


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


To apply to 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 applications must use the EU Exit: ID Document Check app to verify 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 number of local authorities are offering an identity verification service to ensure those who do not have access to a suitable device are able to do so. Details of the locations where this service is being provided will be available on GOV.UK once the pilot launches. If you cannot get access to this app during the pilot there will be alternative ways for you to verify your identity once the scheme fully opens.


  • 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 number of ways you can do this, for example providing your National Insurance number (if you have one). There may be cases where residence cannot be proven automatically in this way, and you will be asked to provide further evidence on your application. Information on the other types of evidence you can use can be found on GOV.UK. Alternatively, if you have a valid permanent residence document or valid indefinite leave to remain, you will just need to provide proof of that status.


What happens next?


  • When this phase of the pilot goes live, we will send you an email inviting you to participate. This email will provide you with the details of how to register your participation.
  • Once you have registered your email address, you will receive an email with a link to complete your online application.


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.


Further details on the pilot and how to make an application will be circulated next week.