In 2019, we began a project to help secure the rights of EU nationals to settled status in the UK by ensuring that a criminal record does not unfairly exclude them. This project currently runs until the end of October 2021.


October 2020 – Settled status: what you need to know if you are an EU citizen and have a criminal record (Online information), one-page summary (PDF) and a news post about the new resources.

September 2019 – New policy briefing – EU nationals, settled status and criminal records

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What we’ve done so far

The situation on criminality remains complicated and unclear, and there is potential for problems to arise closer to the deadline date for applications in June 2021.

The first phase of this project included work to scope out the extent of the problems relating to settled status and criminal records. The result of this was a detailed briefing in September 2019 which highlighted 11 areas of concern and made 18 recommendations.


  • Had clarification that spent convictions do not need to be declared by applicants for settled status
  • Had positive feedback from NGOs that Unlock’s involvement and lead on the criminality issue had been important
  • Raised the profile of the issues around criminality both within the Home Office and across NGOs
  • Begun to make the scheme more transparent by building understanding that we plan to incorporate into information for individuals and organisations.
  • Researched and published information for individuals and those supporting them. See Settled status: what you need to know if you are an EU citizen and have a criminal record

We share the view held by many other organisations that there remains a gap around criminality. We have had positive feedback that Unlock’s role has been valuable and remains important, potentially more critical closer to the deadline for applications. We believe it is crucial that Unlock continues to be part of the work being done by other organisations and the Home Office, ensuring that the issues around criminality continue to be considered.

What we plan to do

We plan to:

  1. Continue engagement with the Home Office and NGO’s
  2. Take part in opportunities to increase understanding across the wider migration sector
  3. Work with other charities supporting EU nationals to disseminate information
  4. Encourage individuals and stakeholders to raise issues around criminality with Unlock
  5. Identify any recurring or systemic issues that require policy engagement
  6. Iteratively update the information based on issues that arise
  7. Support others that have a particular focus on people in prison.


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