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07 / 12 / 2018

Comprehensive Sickness Insurance And Brexit

In light of the impending Brexit, many sensible EEA citizens are seeking to acquire Permanent Residence in the UK to protect their career and family lives here. One of the many requirements is showing that one has held Comprehensive Sickness Insurance (CSI) or where necessary depending on their statuses in the UK.

Firstly, we shall determine what is CSI and who needs to hold one. Secondly, we will present what is likely to happen to this requirement when applying for ‘Settled Status’ and ‘Pre-Settled Status’ or ‘Temporary Status’ post-Brexit.

What is Comprehensive sickness insurance?

In summary, Private Medical Insurance (PMI) which offers full coverage would qualify. In reality, the definition of ‘comprehensive’ for both UK immigration and insurers can differ and be unclear.

The Home Office’s explanation of CSI in their published guidance is to be understood as medical insurance that covers ‘you and your family members in the UK, if applicable, for the majority of risks while you are in the UK’. It excludes cash-back health schemes, travel insurance policies, or access to the UK’s National Health Service (NHS). In their guidelines on Qualified Persons, EEA nationals or their family members are considered to have a comprehensive sickness insurance if ‘they hold any form of insurance that will cover the costs of the majority of medical treatment they may receive in the UK’. Significantly, it is underlined that immigration authorities must adopt a ‘‘proportionate approach’’ when determining whether an insurance policy is comprehensive. This means that an insurance that covers ‘medical treatment in the majority of circumstances’ will be accepted as comprehensive despite containing ‘certain exemptions’.

In the absence of a clear definition, the Home Office’s subjective decisions will be made on a case-by-case basis. We at QC Immigration can help you assess and determine the right Comprehensive Sickness Insurance policy cover to ensure that you comply with your EEA immigration application requirements.

Who needs to hold Comprehensive sickness insurance?

The following individuals need to show that they have CSI during the relevant periods:

  1. EU students that live and study in the UK;
  2. Family members of EU students;
  3. EU citizens classified as ‘self-sufficient’;
  4. Family members of EU citizens classified as ‘self-sufficient’;
  5. Family members of a British citizen who is economically inactive on the ‘Surinder Singh route’; and
  6. Family members dependent on EU children.

What will happen to the requirement for Comprehensive sickness insurance in light of Brexit?

In light of Brexit, EU citizens living in the UK will need to apply for ‘Settled Status’ or ‘Pre-Settled’ temporary status’. In particular, EU citizens that have lived in the UK for more than 5 years will be able to apply for Settled Status. EU citizens that have been in the UK for less than 5 years will be able to apply for Pre-Settled or Temporary status.

Prime Minister, Theresa May, has announced in 2017 that EEA Applicants would no longer be required to show Comprehensive Sickness Insurance in order to obtain a ‘Settled Status’. Nevertheless, Comprehensive Sickness Insurance is still necessary for current EEA Permanent Residence applications. Furthermore, the UK government is not legally bound by the Brexit agreement to erase the CSI requirement. It is also unclear if this Comprehensive Sickness Insurance may be replaced with other requirements.

If you are unsure if you need Comprehensive Sickness Insurance or if your circumstances qualify, contact our lawyers who have exceptional success rate in EEA applications. QC Immigration can advise on the precautions to Brexit-proof your UK status.

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