Brexit day: When do we leave the European Union?

After 4 years and two general elections, the decision to trigger Article 50 is finally being respected and implemented. Brexit day will go down in the history books as the day where the UK took back its sovereignty and a start of a new era.  The UK will officially leave the EU today at 23:00 (GMT). We will now move into the transitional phase where the Government has until December 2020 to finalise trade deals and free movement of people from EU countries. The next 11 months are important and EU nationals in the UK or planning on coming to the UK should act and seek immigration advice to avoid any issues.  Therefore now is the time for EU nationals and their non-EU family members who want to remain in the UK, to apply under the EU Settled Status Scheme in order to protect their status and rights in the UK. Understanding next steps, timings and Home Office requirements are crucial in order to not fall foul to the UK’s complex and hostile immigration system, therefore contacting our immigration team to arrange a consultation for professional legal immigration advice is essential. Please give us a call today for a case assessment and more information about our services.

What is the Brexit Transitional Period?

From today until the end of 2020, there will be a transition period which will allow the UK and EU to negotiate additional arrangements. For EU nationals and their family members who intend to continue living and working in the UK, they will have until the end of this 11 month transition period to apply for a visa to stay in the UK. Without confirmation of status, individuals could be liable to be removed from the UK, so making an application is essential.

For those who currently have residence documents under the EU Regulations such as Registration Certificates, Residence Cards and Permanent Residence Cards, it is important to note that these documents will not be valid after the transition period on 31 December 2020. EU nationals and their family members will, therefore, need to apply or convert their leave under the EU Settlement Scheme. Depending on how long they have lived in the UK, they will either be granted Settled Status (5 years continuous residence) or Pre-Settled Status (less than 5 years continuous residence). Alternatively, individuals who have permanent residence can apply for British citizenship if they’ve held permanent residence for at least 12 months, providing they can meet all of the requirements such as the good character requirement.

When do we officially leave the EU?

The UK will officially leave the European Union today 31 January 2020 at 23.00. Following this, the UK will move into the transitional period keeping the status quo until December 2020. EU nationals still have time to sort out their immigration status in the UK.

What is the EU Settlement Scheme post Brexit?

The EU Settlement Scheme went live last year and according to recent Home Office data, over 2.7 million people have already applied. The main requirement for Settled Status is verifying the Applicant’s identity and demonstrating their continuous residence in the UK. The Home Office has boasted that it is easy to apply under the Scheme via the app or online and automatic checks can be conducted with HMRC to share an Applicant’s employment history with the Home Office and thus their residence in the UK. This is supposed to ensure that a decision is made within 5 working days if additional checks are not required. However, there are many cases where it is not that straight forward, so knowing the correct documents to submit is key to ensuring that applications under the EU Settlement Scheme are successful.

The EU Settlement Scheme has also drawn a lot of criticism from legal professionals and charities who warn that it is not fit for purpose and another Windrush scandal, except on a far greater scale, could happen. Therefore it is important that all those who are eligible to apply under the Scheme do in order to protect their rights in the UK.

What do I get after I apply for Settled or Pre-Settled Status post Brexit?

Once an EU national is granted Settled or Pre-Settled Status under the EU Settlement Scheme, they will be given a link so that they can check their status online at any time. Therefore landlords and employers will be able to take this as confirmation of lawful status in the UK. Non-EU family members will get a physical document (Biometric Residence Permit) as well as the online confirmation if they apply under the Scheme. If they already had a Residence Card under the EEA Regulations and then transfer their leave under the Scheme they will retain their Residence Card document. Having Settled Status means that Applicants are free from Immigration control, meaning that they can freely travel in and out of the UK and they will not have to apply to extend their leave in the UK. A person with Settled or Pre-Settled Status is also able to:

  • work in the UK;
  • use the NHS for free;
  • enrol in education or continue studying; and
  • access public funds such as benefits and pensions, if they are eligible for them.

Someone who has Settled Status who spends more than 5 years consecutively outside of the UK will then lose their Settled Status. Similarly, a person who has Pre-Settled Status can spend two years in a row outside the UK without losing their status, however, if they wish to apply for Settled Status then they will need to show 5 years continuous residence in the UK. As previously mentioned, after holding Settled Status for at least 12 months then Applicants may apply for British citizenship.

Using Legal Representation to apply for a UK Visa post Brexit

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 submit an application to remain in the UK post-Brexit.

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 visa 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’s Immigration Rules are complex and a legal representative can help ensure that your application meets the relevant rules.

Successful UK Visa Applications post Brexit

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 application before your matter even reaches the Home Office UK Visa & Immigration department. We can assist you with the preparation and submission of your 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. LEXVISA is just minutes away from the Immigration and Asylum Tribunal, the Royal Courts of Justice and other central London courts.

Preparation is the key to successful UK visa and 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 to discuss your application.

Contact our London immigration solicitors on 02030110276 or complete our contact form.

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