The British government has stepped in to ease the worries of those British nationals facing a tight deadline to return to the UK with their EU partners.
Britons can return to live in the UK anytime but under Brexit rules if they want to return with their EU partners without the hassle of having to get a visa then they had to have applied for the EU settlement scheme in the UK before March 29th.
To do that they first need to have obtained a family permit before returning to the UK however the application process has been hit by long delays leaving many stuck in limbo in the EU facing an anxious wait to know if they will be able to move home.
After coming under pressure from citizen rights groups like British in Europe the UK government has finally relented this week. The Home Office now says those who don’t have the required family permit by March 29th will not be punished by the delay in processing applications and will still be able to move back to the UK as long as they have launched their application by the March deadline.
“This is good news,” Jane Golding co-chair of British in Europe told The Local. “This effectively gives people more time.”
The Home Office move means that as long as people have applied for a family permit by 11pm on March 29th they will then be able to move to the UK and apply for EU settled status once they are in possession of the family permit.
Previously families were told they had to have the permit and to have applied for EU settled status in the UK by March 29th.
“Families will be able to use the delays in processing family permits as reasonable grounds for a delay in applying for EU settled status,” said Golding.
“For those people who applied six months ago and are still waiting for the permit they can still move to the UK after March 29th.”
The reason British nationals would want to move back to the UK under the EU settled Status scheme is that their EU partners would not be subject to strict immigration criteria.
Those who don’t apply for family permits before March 29th will have to apply for a visa for their EU spouse which comes with strict conditions such is fixed income requirements.
The rules and the short grace period for moving home has caused huge stress for Britons in the EU and forced many who planned one day to return to the UK, perhaps to retire or be closer to elderly relatives to make a decision.
The full statement from the Home Office read: “Where an application for an EUSS family permit is made on this basis by 29 March 2022 but is not decided by that date, it will continue to be processed and an EUSS family permit will be issued where the applicant meets the requirements.
“Family members of returning British citizens who are granted an EUSS family permit, which they applied for by 29 March 2022, will be considered to have ‘reasonable grounds’ for applying in the UK to the EUSS after that deadline. They should apply to the EUSS as soon as they reasonably can after their return to the UK.”