What Now for UK Permanent Residency Rights for EU/EEA Citizens Post-Brexit?

Brexit is looming. EU/EEA residents living in Britain face an uncertain future. Meanwhile, EU/EEA citizens seeking entry to the UK are faced with stricter immigration rules. This raises a lot of questions. If you’re an EU/EEA national, here are where things currently stand in terms of your UK permanent residency status

Following the leak of an ‘extremely sensitive’ 82-page Home Office document – titled ‘The Border, Immigration and Citizenship System After the UK Leaves the EU – outlining the government’s plans for EU immigration, Ash Norton Solicitors has a better understanding of the rights of EU/EEA citizens once Britain leaves the bloc.

What are the rights of EU/EEA citizens who already hold UK permanent residency status?

UK Prime Minister, Theresa May, initially released a proposal on the rights of EU/EEA citizens living in the UK after Brexit, on June 26, 2017. She described the government’s plans as a new ‘settled status’ that will grant EU nationals permanent residency in the UK to ‘access public funds, undertake lawful activities and apply for UK citizenship.’

However, the estimated three million EU/EEA citizens currently living in Britain will be required to apply for a special identification card granting them permanent residency status, making any previous permanent residency documents, null and void.

Essentially, EU citizens with permanent residency status in Britain will have to reapply for that status. A current permanent residency application requires EU/EEA nationals to fill out an 85-page document, but the Home Office has vowed to streamline this process for ID card applications, and plans to introduce a new computer system to speed up processing times.

What are the rights of EU/EEA citizens living in Britain, without permanent residency status?

You are only eligible to apply for UK permanent residency if you have lived in the country continuously for five years. You may have lived in Britain for a total of five years, but if you left the country for a prolonged period of time during that five year period, it’s unlikely that you currently qualify for UK permanent residency status.

What are the rights of EU/EEA citizens who have lived in the UK less than five years?

Currently, EU nationals who have lived in the UK for less than five years, can apply for temporary residency prior to securing permanent residency status once reaching the five year threshold.

However, with Britain’s official exit from the EU scheduled for Friday, March 29, 2019 it’s as yet unclear how this will affect EU/EEA citizens who reach the minimum five-year threshold after this date.

What is known is that any EU/EAA citizen already living and working in Britain will be allowed to carry on working and living in post-Brexit Britain. Meanwhile, EU/EEA nationals wanting to move to the UK can do so as part of a ‘transition phase’ lasting up to three years but will have to apply for the aforementioned identification card.

What does the leaked paper say about the rights of EU/EEA citizens?

The leaked Home Office paper focuses on a three-pronged approach to EU immigration, which focuses on the working rights of EU/EEA nationals in the UK.

Phase one is aimed at persons with settled status, those who arrived in Britain before a specific date, which will assess an EU/EEA citizen’s right to remain in the country while looking at transferring EU migration rules into a UK legal framework.

Phase two will be implemented in the immediate aftermath of Brexit and will see the introduction of the previously mentioned transitional stage, leading to phase three… new UK immigration rules to restrict the volume and type of migration from the EU to Britain.

Where do EU/EEA citizens stand right now?

Ultimately, the existing UK permanent residency system for EU/EEA nationals has not changed. Changes to the legal and permanent residency status of EU/EEA citizens post-Brexit is subject to approval from all 28 EU member states.

The fact is, undoing 43 years’ worth of treaties and agreements is going to take time, especially since it’s never been done before.

Talk to Ash Norton Solicitors, Today

If you’re an EU or EEA national and you’re uncertain about your permanent residency rights in the UK following Brexit, now is the time to talk to Ash Norton Solicitors. Call us today to clarify your future on 0208 997 1345.