英國入籍規定再搬龍門

英國政府近日更新了有關入籍的規定,將取得英國公民身份時的良好人格政策 (Good character policy) 的年期由5年改為10年,並規定須考慮申請人是否符合 歐洲經濟區移民規定 20161971年移民法案。其中對居英歐盟公民最大影響,就是牽涉到CSI的規定

在英國仍屬歐盟成員國時,根據相關規定,歐盟公民在英國居留,只要沒有全職工作,均需購買 CSI 以支付醫療費用。如果在全職讀書、轉換工作、失業或退休的期間沒有購買 CSI 的話,將有機會被英國政府以這段時間不符合移民法規定為由,拒絕入籍申請。

現時英國將良好人格政策 (Good character policy) 的年期延長一倍至十年,並且即是說,歐盟公民在入籍之前的十年 (或開始定居英國的日子,視乎哪一個較短),必須具有良好人格,而且還會考慮當事人有否違反移民法規。最大問題是,政策規定若果在居留期間沒有全職工作而又沒有購買 CSI 的話,即使已經根據 EU Settlement 取得Settled Status,也未必可以因此而直接批給入籍申請,一切完全取決於批核你個案的職員的決定。

在 EU Settlement 出台時,政府已經表明申請人之前即使在沒有全職工作的期間沒有購買CSI,亦不會影響其申請。但其後已經有個案顯示,即使取得 Settled Status ,仍會因為居留期間曾經不符合CSI規定而入籍申請遭拒的案件。今次修改相關要求,只會令申請不到入籍的人數進一步增加。

而最大問題,是這個修改,將追溯期由申請前五年變成十年,這樣的話對當事人來說極不公平,因為此前規定一直是五年,所以申請人理應對五年期間有合理期待,今次這樣回溯至十年前,申請人根本無法補救其原本合理期待的五年之前的五年的任何缺失。

而另一個問題,則是 EU Settlement 沒有明文規定 Pre Settled Status 或 Settled Status 的持有人在沒有全職工作時是否需要購買 CSI 。所以日後沒有購買 CSI 的 Pre Settled Status申請人,即使成功申請 Settled Status ,也未知日後會否因 Pre Settled Status 時不屬全職工作的期間沒有買 CSI 的話會否申請入籍時遭拒。

附︰相關細則行文

In assessing whether a person has complied with immigration requirements over the previous 10 years, you must take into account whether they were subject to the EEA Regulations 2016 or the Immigration Act 1971 and whether they complied with the relevant requirements.

Comprehensive Sickness Insurance (CSI) is a legal requirement for EEA and Swiss students, self-sufficient persons and their family members who are residing in the UK with them. If a person did not have CSI, you must consider why they did not have it. Where a person has been granted ILR under the EUSS but has been in breach of the EEA Regulations 2016 due to a lack of CSI you must consider whether it is appropriate to exercise discretion in their favour. Some applicants will have previously been refused permanent residence on the basis of not having CSI. When considering whether it is appropriate to exercise discretion, you must assess the reasons given for this, and why they did not then obtain CSI.

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