I've just had a look over the government's new 'Statement of Intent' about Settled Status, and I had a couple of questions. I realise this is just another preliminary document, so nothing is final yet, but:
Firstly, when discussing absences, it says these must not exceed 6 months in 'any' 12-month period -- this seems to me to be much harsher than the existing PR absence guidelines, which stipulate not more than 6 months within each 12 month period, starting on the date the application is claiming for. If it's really 'any' 12 month period, that would mean that if I were absent for 4 months at the beginning of 2015, and 3 months at the end of 2014, then I would lose continuous residency, even if my qualifying period started in January (say). Am I correct in thinking this might be a major harshening of the rules?
Secondly and relatedly, it seems to me that as much of the system is now supposed to be automated, it falls to applicants to self-enforce some of these rules. For example, if HMRC confirm I have been working for the past 5 years, but unbeknownst to them, my work involved a 7 month absence for business at some point, then the system will presumably automatically give me settled status -- but the onus would be on me to flag up the absence! Presumably not doing so would count as making a fraudulent application? This seems very worrying to me -- there could be lots of people who accidentally break this rule, but the system waves them through (only for them to find at a later date that they are held responsible for it).