Posted by Richard Woodman, Partner
Post-Brexit immigration: certainty for EU citizens after Brexit
The UK Government has reached a deal in principle with the EU in connection with citizens’ rights.
In a joint report by the UK Government and the European Commission, the parties have confirmed that EU nationals, and their family members residing in the UK before 29 March 2019 will have the right to stay in the UK. UK citizens, and their family members residing in the European Union will enjoy reciprocal rights if they are resident in the host state before the cut-off date.
The Commission will now recommend to the European Council, the 27 national leaders, that it should sign off on the deal.
As discussed at our recent immigration seminars, the key points, subject to the final agreement, are:
- The cut-off date: The cut-off date will be the United Kingdom’s withdrawal from the European Union, which is expected to take place on 29 March 2019.
- Settled status: Those who have a permanent residence document can convert their documentation into a new ‘settled status’ document for free, subject to additional checks. EU nationals will be required to obtain documentation to remain and work in the UK. Those who have resided in the UK for five continuous years before the cut-off date will acquire permanent residency/settled status. Temporary residence will be given to those who have been in the UK for less than five years and therefore do not qualify for permanent residence.
- Citizens’ rights: EU nationals, and their family members residing in the United Kingdom before the cut-off date, will have the right to stay. UK citizens, and their family members residing in the European Union will enjoy reciprocal rights if they are resident in the host state before the cut-off date.
- Permanent residency/settled status documentation: A document evidencing residence rights must be obtained. The application process is purported to be smooth, transparent and streamlined.
- Family members: Subject to an EU national living in the United Kingdom at the point at which it leaves the European Union, their family members will be able to join them. A couple will be required to demonstrate that they are in a durable relationship for a period of time.
- The role of UK and European courts: UK courts will enforce the rights of EU citizens in Britain but will refer unclear cases to the European Court of Justice (ECJ). The government believes that only two or three cases a year will reach this court.
The agreement has given some peace of mind and certainty to the 3.7 million EU nationals living in the UK. However, they will still be required to show their passports to enter into the UK after Brexit, and will be required to obtain documentation to live and work in the UK in the future. There will be new rules for EU nationals seeking work in the UK after Brexit. “Brexiteers” are pleased with the deal, though some protestors say that it does little to help the EU nationals who have left the UK already.
We are advising all EU migrants living in the UK to obtain Permanent Residence if they meet the criteria, as this will certainly assist them in securing settled status at no or little cost in the future.
If you employ EU nationals, or are an EU national and would like immigration advice or advice on Permanent Residence or British citizenship, please contact Helen Murphie, Kate Benefer or Olivia Coles:
0800 051 8054 Email us
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