The health minister is attempting to reassure nurses from European Union nations that the new online system for registering to remain in the UK after Brexit will be easy and inexpensive.
The government announced this week that it will be phasing in a “simple and straightforward” scheme later this year for EU citizens to apply for settled status in the UK. This will lead to a full launch by the end of March 2019 to enable EU citizens arriving before the end of 2020 to apply for their status, it said.
Applications will be via a short online process costing £65 for adults and £32.50 for children under 16. However, it will be free for those with valid documented permanent residence or valid indefinite leave to remain or enter, the Home Office said.
Health minister, James O’Shaughnessy said he wanted EU nurses to stay: “Our EU nurses are a vital part of our NHS and social care workforce. We want their expertise and compassionate care to continue to help this country deliver world class healthcare now and in the future.”
The work nurses do was hugely valued and the new system would make it easy for them to keep working here, he said.
“EU citizens living in the UK who work in the NHS and social care looking to continue to work in the UK can use this simple online process to easily secure their status. We want to reassure nurses that we hugely value their life-saving work.”
Most EU citizens will need only to prove their identity and demonstrate their residence in the UK, the Home Office said.
They will also be required to declare whether they have any criminal convictions and the Home Office will check that they are not a serious or persistent criminal.
Support services, such as a call centre, would be in place to help applicants, particularly more vulnerable citizens, the Home Office said.
The immigration rules for the scheme will be formally laid before parliament later this summer. In the meantime the Home Office says it will continue to engage with stakeholders, including employers, local authority representatives and community groups, about the detailed design of the scheme.
The government says it wants EU citizens and their families who have made the UK their home to stay and says “quickly and easily”. The new rules are an important step in delivering a reciprocal agreement with the EU and also guarantees the rights of UK nationals living in the EU, the government says.
Background guidance – Status of EU Citizens in the UK: What You Need to Know – is available online.