Full house for Rights and Entitlements Post Brexit Seminar
News article published on: 6th December 2019
On 27 November 2019, Osbornes Law held a twilight seminar to consider the rights that EU citizens and their family members will have after the UK leaves the EU.
Guest speaker, Antonia Benfield of Doughty Street Chambers, spoke first about the EU Settlement Scheme. Then Osbornes’ own William Ford (Partner in the Housing and Social Care team) spoke about access to social welfare. This was followed by a Q&A and refreshments. The event was well attended by community organisations, law firms and others who work closely with EU Citizens, particularly those who are vulnerable and may need assistance to access their rights.
EU Settlement scheme
The EU Settlement Scheme, which opened for the majority of applicants on 30th March 2019 is mandatory and the deadline for applications is 30th June 2021, however this deadline may be brought forward should the UK leave the EU with no deal.
The scheme grants applicants either “settled” or “pre-settled” status. The application scheme is free of charge and digital. Yet despite targeted advertising, it is thought that there are many who are not aware of it. Antonia discussed some interesting findings from available statistics. The overwhelming majority of applications result in the applicant being granted either settled or pre-settled status. However, it appears that over the months since the scheme was launched, there has been a steady decline in those being granted settled status (as opposed to pre-settled status). There is also an increasing backlog of applications.
Access to social welfare
William Ford discussed the distinction between settled and pre-settled status with respect to access to social welfare. Legislation that came into effect on 7th May 2019 limits the entitlements of those with pre-settled status to means tested benefits such as Universal Credit, as well as Child Tax Credits and Child Benefit.
A legal challenge is currently making its way through the courts but we will have to wait for the outcome. Similarly those with pre-settled status will be ineligible for homelessness assistance and for allocation of social housing, unless they can demonstrate they have some other form of right to reside which satisfies the legal criteria for eligibility for this assistance. Pre-settled status alone is insufficient.
Osbornes’ Community Care team are able to provide a holistic legal service in the areas of housing, welfare benefits, public law and all aspects of community care law – particularly where there may be an interplay between these areas and rights for EU citizens. Please contact us on 02074858811 or through our website www.osborneslaw.com
Blog post written by Muna Adam