Prime Minister Teresa May described the triggering of Article 50 as an “historic moment from which there can be no turning back”, and with the delivery of her letter to Donald Tusk the Brexit countdown has truly begun. How negotiations will unfold over the next two years will largely depend on the largesse of the EU negotiating team, who are already contemplating issuing the UK with a £50 billion divorce bill.
Brexit Countdown: What Does the Letter Say About the Rights of EEA Nationals?
The Brexit process was formalised upon Donald Tusk’s receipt of Teresa May’s letter, which informed him of the decision of the United Kingdom to withdraw from the European Union. This now gives the United Kingdom two years to complete negotiations for withdrawal, a central part of which will cover how the United Kingdom will operate – or cease to operate – the ‘four freedoms’ that are key to being part of the single market. As the Brexit countdown continues, negotiators will need to establish the future of the free movement of goods, the right of establishment and freedom to provide services, the free movement of capital and the freedom of movement for workers – those EEA nationals currently residing in the United Kingdom.
The letter that Teresa May sent to Donald Tusk made no explicit mention of the future of EEA nationals in the UK, or indeed of any of the other four freedoms. Instead, the PM’s letter states that the United Kingdom does not seek membership of the single market, and that the United Kingdom respects the EU’s position of seeing the four freedoms of the single market as being indivisible. The letter also states that the United Kingdom companies will need to align with EU rules, just as they do ‘in other overseas markets’. These two statements could hint at the future of the United Kingdom’s relationship with the EU: rather than negotiate for any special privileges, the United Kingdom will withdraw totally from the single market, as well as the four freedoms the single market confers – including the free movement of workers. In such a situation, one that is conceivable if ‘hard Brexit’ is the true aim, the United Kingdom will be isolated from the EU, much like any other country that is not and was never a member state. The result of this would be that EEA nationals will become much like other non-visa nationals, requiring a visa to work in the United Kingdom long-term and no longer be able to exercise their rights under the EC Treaty.
Brexit Countdown: What Does the Future of UK Nationals Overseas Hold?
A ‘hard Brexit’ may be an extreme scenario, and as the Brexit countdown continues further light will be shed on what the ultimate outcome of negotiations will be. The letter the PM sent to Donald Tusk asks for ‘constructive and respectful engagement, in a spirit of sincere cooperation,’ whilst at the same time conceding that the United Kingdom will lose influence over EU policies and rules. The letter also states that the government will ‘aim to strike an early agreement’ about the rights of United Kingdom nationals currently living in Europe, which, should there be a reciprocal agreement, points to a potentially swift understanding of the rights of EEA nationals living in the United Kingdom. An early and positive agreement on the rights of EEA national and UK nationals would certainly be in the spirit of sincere cooperation, though with rumblings of secession emanating from the populist parties of other member states, whether the EU negotiators will be in a charitable mood remains to be seen.
The letter from Teresa May has only served to muddy the waters further. The Brexit countdown, whilst posing more questions than there are answers, will start producing clearer waters once negotiations are underway. EEA nationals still uncertain about what the future holds, however, are encouraged to learn more about how they can confirm their status in the United Kingdom.
Using Legal Representation to Confirm Your Status as an EEA National Living in the United Kingdom
Legal representatives, such as our specialist immigration and visa law firm, are qualified to advise you on immigration law and your immigration status. It is possible to instruct an immigration and visa legal representative to confirm your status as an EEA National living in the United Kingdom.
Caseworkers at the Home Office are trained to reject applications which are improperly prepared, for example by failing to provide the correct supporting evidence. In order to ensure your application succeeds, all necessary documents must be provided.
This can be a significant administrative task and you will need to submit the correct documentary evidence. The UK Immigration Rules are complex and a legal representative can help ensure that your application meets the Immigration Rules.
Successfully Confirm Your Status as an EEA National Living in the United Kingdom
Our team of solicitors and barristers are specialist immigration lawyers who act in your best interest. We offer a client-tailored approach from the outset. From the very first meeting, we will be able to advise you in respect of your immigration status and the merit of your visa and immigration application before your matter even reaches the Home Office UK Visa & Immigration department. We can assist you with the preparation of your immigration and visa application and ensure that you meet all the requirements of the relevant rules.
We are based in the legal epicentre of London, just across the road from the Royal Courts of Justice in order to ensure we get the best results for our clients. We are minutes away from the Immigration and Asylum Tribunal, the Royal Courts of Justice and other central London courts.
Preparation is the key to successful immigration applications. Our UK immigration and visa solicitors are here to guide you through the complex immigration rules and requirements. If you wish to meet one of our lawyers, please call our Immigration Team so we can assess your case and arrange your legal consultation.
Contact our London immigration solicitors on 02071830570 or complete our contact form.