On the 20th July 2018, Parliament published a Statement of Changes to the Immigration Rules. The changes include a new Appendix EU which allows for applications by resident EU citizens and others for leave to remain in the United Kingdom under the EU Settlement Scheme. The changes will come into force on the 28th August 2018.
The scheme will first be rolled out on a trial basis. Universities and NHS Trusts in the Liverpool area have been invited to participate in the trial. The scheme will be rolled out on a phased basis from late 2018 before opening fully by 30 March 2019. The scheme is voluntary until June 2021; thereafter it becomes mandatory.
The Statement of Changes is important for EU nationals as it shows that the settlement scheme will become law before Brexit Day; 29 March 2019. This means that even if the UK leaves the EU without a deal, EU nationals can still apply for leave to remain in the UK under UK domestic immigration law.
However, it should be noted that the Immigration Rules are subject to change. The Statement of Changes published on the 20th July 2018 is the third set of changes to be made in 2018. There have been 11 changes to the Immigration Rules since the EU referendum.
In all cases, any applicant wishing to make an immigration application should seek advice before doing so.