EEA Citizens after Brexit
As never before in the United Kingdom, we have seen an exponential increase in discussions pertaining to immigration law and its effects. This is due to the ground-breaking news regarding the UK’s shock decision to leave the EU and the ramifications for EEA citizens.
For the UK to quit the EU, amongst other things, it had to invoke Article 50 of the Lisbon Treaty, which gives the European Union and the United Kingdom two years (or more depending on reaching an agreement or not) to negotiate Brexit.
In short, any EU member state which decides to leave the EU shall notify the European Council in accordance with the above-mentioned article, in order to initiate negotiations for an exit.
According to Michel Barnier, leader of the Brexit negotiations for the EU, when interviewed by BBC London, he stated that the UK’s proposals did not go far enough and he wanted the same level of protection citizens have under EU law.
Moreover, we cannot say for sure what will happen after the negotiations between EU and UK reach an agreement. However, it is recommended for EEA nationals to apply for a Permanent Residence card which will allow EEA citizens, amongst other things, to work and live in the UK without any limit despite the unpredictable forecast for EEA citizens and their rights.
Although applying for a Permanent Residence card is the recommended thing to do, you will need to meet certain criteria. As a general rule, in order to be eligible for a Permanent Residence card, EEA nationals should have been continuously living in the UK for at least 5 years, whilst also having been exercising their Treaty rights.
We strongly advise you to apply for a permanent residence document if in addition to having been living in the UK for 5 years:
- You are a family member of someone from the European Economic Area or Switzerland;
- You are an EEA National.
Another relevant benefit a permanent card gives you is the possibility of applying for British citizenship once you have held permanent resident status for at least 12 months, unless you are married or in a civil partnership with a British citizen.
For the purposes of the 1971 Act and the British Nationality Act 1981, a person who has a permanent right of residence under regulation 15, shall be regarded as a person who is in the United Kingdom without being subject under the immigration laws to any restriction on the period for which he may remain.
Lastly, it is important to mention that applying for a residence card is not a minimum requirement for permanent residence, however it would be extra evidence which may assist your application. Also, if you have been living in the UK for a period shorter than 5 years, you will not qualify for the Permanent Residence card/status.
If you have questions about your immigration status or need advice on the matter, please feel free to contact our senior solicitor Pam Barar or our immigration team.
We take the stress of visa applications away from you and assist you from start to finish. That is why many of our both private and corporate clients choose us.