It’s 13 December 2019 and the result of the December 2019 General Election is in. It has been confirmed that Boris Johnson and the Conservative Party are still in power, with a large majority of 364 seats. The Prime Minister’s slogan throughout the election campaign was to “get Brexit done”, so now that Mr Johnson lives to fight another day, what exactly does this mean for the EU nationals and their family members who are in the UK and intend to move to the UK? One thing is for certain, it seems that the UK will be leaving the EU by 31 January 2020. Any EU nationals and their family members who have not yet considered and confirmed their status in the UK must contact our EU Immigration team to arrange a consultation with our solicitors before the Brexit deadline, to avoid any unnecessary stress and last-minute applications.
December 2019 General Election Result: What does this mean for EU nationals and their family members?
It is certain that there are still many EU nationals and their non-EU national family members who have not yet regularised their status in the UK due to the uncertainty of Brexit. Even though the exact deal is still not entirely clear (or even if a deal will be agreed on), what we do know is that Brexit is definitely still happening and things will be changing to the way that EU nationals and their family members can enter and remain in the UK. Applying for residence under the Immigration (European Economic Area) Regulations 2016 (“EEA Regulations 2016”) and the EU Settlement Scheme under the Immigration Rules are both currently open to Applicants and essentially give the same rights in the UK. However, there are some major differences in terms of process, requirements and validity which need to carefully be considered before anyone makes an application.
In times of continuing change and uncertainty, it is important to get specialist legal immigration advice from fully regulated advisors and legal representatives, such as LEXVISA, in order to fully understand the potential consequences of any application and for a full case evaluation. We can assist in the preparation and submission of successful applications to the Home Office and have vast experience with applications for EU nationals and their family members. Preparation is essential with any application. We will send out a bespoke documents list and conduct a comprehensive document review, as well as provide detailed legal representations tailored to each individual case. Therefore please do not hesitate to contact us today to find out more about our service and how we can assist you.
Applications under the EU Regulations 2016
Applications for EU nationals and their family members can still be made under the existing EEA Regulations 2016 which include EU Family Permits allowing entry to the UK, EU Registration Certificates and EU Residence Cards in confirmation of status in the UK for a period of 5 years, and then EU Permanent Residence documents for applicants who can demonstrate continuous lawful residence in the UK during their qualifying period (also known as settlement). Non-EU family members and extended family members must apply for an EU Residence Card, whereas it is optional for EU nationals to apply for the equivalent EU Registration Certificate but it can help make re-entry to the UK quicker and allow access to certain benefits.
As the Rules currently stand, ALL Residence Cards are valid up until 31 December 2020; however, applications can still be made. Unlike the EU Settlement Scheme (which we will outline in more detail below), successful applicants under the EU Regulations 2016 will be given a physical residence document (Biometric Residence Card) as other non-EU nationals do who apply under the Immigration Rules. It currently costs £65 per applicant to apply and all of the relevant requirements as listed within the EEA Regulations 2016 must be met. For EU nationals who are students or self-sufficient in the UK, they must be able to provide evidence of Comprehensive Sickness Insurance.
Applications under the EU Settlement Scheme
The EU Settlement Scheme is similar to the EEA Regulations 2016 and promises to secure the rights of EU nationals and their family members in the UK post-Brexit. Anyone who currently has a valid document under the EEA Regulations 2016 will need to convert their leave under the EU Settlement Scheme by 31 December 2020 and it is free and apparently straightforward to do so. Unlike the EEA Regulations 2016, successful applicants will not be given a physical residence document and all the data will be stored digitally, which is of great concern knowing how well Home Office systems are operated and in the past, there have been concerns voiced that EU nationals may become the next Windrush scandal. However, the Government has been assuring applicants that the EU Settlement Scheme is fit for purpose and thousands of EU nationals and their family members have already successfully applied under the Scheme.
Under the EU Settlement Scheme, successful applicants will be granted one of two types of status; Settled Status or Pre-Settled Status. Settled Status is the equivalent to EU Permanent Residence and is for applicants who have been in the UK lawfully for a continuous period of 5 years. If it cannot be demonstrated that they have been in the UK for at least 5 years, then Pre-Settled Status will be granted until the 5 years has been reached and Settled Status can be applied for. Applications made under the EU Settlement Scheme are free and the deadline to apply is 30 June 2021 or 31 December 2020 if the UK leaves the EU without a deal. You can sign up for email updates about the Scheme in order to get the latest information. For more information about this new EU Settlement Scheme, please give us a call today.
Using Legal Representation to prepare an EU application following the December 2019 General Election
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 following the result of the December 2019 General Election.
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 under the EU Regulations or Settlement Scheme 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 EU applications
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 applications under the EU Regulations and Immigration Rules. 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 02071830570 or complete our contact form.