Over the past week, the Windrush scandal has been dominant in the news and in parliament. Theresa May’s hostile environment policy, which she implemented as Home Secretary, has meant that the children of the Windrush generation, who have been in the UK for the majority of their lives and are British, have been issued with notices of deportation and denied access to things such as healthcare benefits. This has understandably caused outrage across the country and beyond, as well as given an indication to the future for EEA nationals in the UK post-Brexit, due to the fact that the hostile immigration environment does not take a subjective approach or recognise the existing rights of individuals who are entitled to be here.
What are the concerns for EEA nationals?
There are approximately 3.6 million EU nationals living in the UK. The Home Office faces the task of granting each of them settled status in order for them to continue living and working in the UK after Brexit. There are now many concerns that the Home Office is not fit for purpose, especially in the light of the recent Windrush scandal. Co-founder of EU citizens’ rights group the3million has said that; “the Windrush situation has shown that the Home Office’s policy can be quite indiscriminate” and that “it raised the level of anxiety among EU citizens by a notch”. This is because of the concern that some EEA citizens will fail to register for settled status or struggle to provide sufficient documentation to prove their residency status in the UK, despite a Home Office insisting that they are “developing from scratch a new streamlined, user-friendly scheme for EU citizens to safeguard their right to stay in the UK after we leave the EU”.
Further, there is even more concern for EEA nationals because of the fact that the population size of EEA citizens compared with the Windrush generation is a great deal more significant. This means that it is unlikely to be a straightforward and victimless process. It is therefore advised that any EEA nationals in the UK who have not already sought to provide evidence of their right to be in the UK, that they do so as soon as possible by contacting our Immigration Team.
How can I apply for an EEA Family Permit?
Non-EEA Family members or extended family members of EEA nationals may apply for a Family Permit from outside the UK in order to join their EEA family member in the UK. This is on the condition that the EEA family member is either exercising treaty rights or has Permanent Residence in the UK. The EEA Family Permit allows the holder to come to the UK for up to 6 months, in which time they will then need to apply for a Residence Card. The EEA Family Permit is free and you may be refused entry into the UK if you do not have it.
How can I apply for an EEA Registration Certificate or EEA Residence Card?
EEA Registration Certificates and an EEA Residence Cards are formal documents which confirm your right to live in the UK under EU law. You can apply for a Registration Certificate or Residence Card online and from within the UK, which will confirm your residence status in the UK. An EEA Residence Card is usually valid for up to 5 years. However, Residence Cards will not be valid after the UK leaves the EU. Before the new scheme is in place, extended family members will still need a registration certificate. Having either a Registration Certificate or Residence Card will likely make applying for settled status after Brexit more straightforward.
How can I apply for EEA Permanent Residence?
EEA nationals must provide evidence of being a qualified person for 5 years in order to apply for a document certifying Permanent Residence under EC Directive 2004/38. Non-EEA family members may also be eligible to apply for a Permanent Residence document. In order to apply, the non-EEA family member must demonstrate that he/she is the family member of qualified person. Applicants applying for a Permanent Residence application may be eligible to apply using the European Passport Return Service.
Using Legal Representation to make an EEA Application
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.
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 EEA regulations.
Successful EEA 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 a successful application. 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.