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Application for EU migrants to stay after Brexit 'will literally take a few minutes'

Emilio Casalicchio

2 min read

Applying to stay in the UK after Brexit will take EU nationals just minutes and cost no more than £72.50, the Immigration Minister said today.

Brandon Lewis explained that the process for migrants seeking ‘settled status’ will all be done and dusted in six or eight minutes through an online questionnaire.

The new streamlined system will replace an 85-page form and those who apply should hear back within two weeks, he added.

Mr Lewis laid out the plans after Theresa May guaranteed the rights of EU migrants already living in the UK as part of the Brexit divorce deal she clinched last week.

The agreement is set to be rubber-stamped by EU leaders this week when the Prime Minister attends the crucial European Council summit in Brussels. 

Mr Lewis told the Lords EU Justice sub-committee there would be a “presumption in favour” of approving applications once the process begins.

"The way we are looking to develop this is using online processes where somebody spends literally a few minutes online and within a couple of weeks your settled status is dealt with and granted," he told peers.

He said existing permanent residents might be able to apply for free, while those who do not already have indefinite leave to remain could face charges of up to £72.50.

Meanwhile, Mr Lewis said he could only envisage an application being blocked if it were fraudulent or for someone with a serious criminal record.

The withdrawal agreement said the family members of migrants and partners in existing “durable relationships” would also be allowed settled status after Brexit.

And their rights will be overseen by the European Court of Justice for eight years after Britain quits the bloc.

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