The Home Office promised to introduce a new online scheme which will enable faster processing of applications for British citizenship. Having received heavy criticisms for the slow pace of the application process for permanent residency, the department is confident that the new automated system will reduce the processing period from six months to a few days.
The home secretary, Sajid Javid stated: “With the scheme, we’re meeting our commitment to secure the rights of EU citizens who are already in this country, contributing in so many ways, they’re working, they’re studying or for other reasons.”
“We want them to stay and we want to make that process of staying as easy as possible.”
Before summer ends, Home Office will launch the new scheme with selected test groups. The system will roll out in the succeeding months and be fully operational come March 30 next year. It will continue to process applications of EU citizens who arrive in the country till the target end of the transition period which is December 2019.
Carers, non-working parents, retirees and students will be eligible for “settled status” without proof of income. Irish citizens who have non-EU spouses who wish to stay in the UK, will no longer have to apply for as long as they show proof of residency
EU citizens who have been residing in the country for less than five years will be awarded with a “pre-settled status” ID which can be changed to full “settled status” after five years. This will be a faster route to British citizenship because they do not have to undergo permanent residency process anymore.
“Our default position will be to grant status. We will be looking to grant status as quickly as we can. We will not be looking for excuses at all to not grant status. It will be driven by default view, you provide this information, if you’re not going to be granted status there will have to be a very serious reason.” Javid told the subcommittee of Lords EU justice.