The Brexit process has caused uncertainty amongst EU nationals in regards to their immigration position in the UK. This process has caused a significant number of EU nationals to make applications for permanent residence in the UK to secure their position. In the Summer of 2016, the Home Office introduced a fast-track pilot scheme in order to speed up the permanent residence card application process and on 19 December 2016 the Home Office extended the fast-track pilot scheme to include families and dependents of those EU nationals. We anticipate that prior to the implementation of a new system, post Brexit, there could be a significant increase in the number of applications being considered by the Home Office and that the Home Office are preparing for this influx. In order to avoid any delay in securing your position in the UK, we advise you to apply for a permanent residence card as soon as possible.Permanent Residence Cards Post Brexit: Home Office Fast-Track Pilot Scheme | LEXVISA
Permanent Residence Cards in the UK
EU nationals who have exercised Treaty Rights in the UK for a continuous period of 5 years are automatically permanent residents of the UK. In order to prove that you are a permanent resident and you therefore have the right to live and work in the UK, you must apply for a permanent residence card. Once you are granted a permanent residence card in the UK you may be eligible to apply for British citizenship after 12 months.
Currently, applications for permanent residence cards are made by submitting an 85 page paper application form with the applicant’s passport and evidence. The Home Office currently take up to 6 months to reach a decision and return the applicant’s passport.
Permanent Residence Cards: Effect of the Brexit Process
Since the Brexit process, the number of permanent residence card applications has risen significantly as many EU nationals wish to secure their position in the UK. Official figures show that from June 2015 to September 2015 approximately 4,000 permanent residence cards were granted to EU nationals. However, after the referendum result, in June 2016 to September 2016, this has increased exponentially to 14,000 and rising.
Amber Rudd, the UK Home Secretary, reiterated the need for a proactive stance when she stated that due to the referendum result, EU nationals will “need to have some sort of documentation”.
We advise you to make an application for a permanent residence card if you have been exercising your Treaty Rights in the UK for 5 years, as soon as possible, in order to secure your position in the UK without delay.
Permanent Residence Card Applications: Home Office Fast-Track Pilot Scheme
In the Summer of 2016, the Home Office introduced a pilot scheme to 20 corporate clients to expedite the decision making process in regards to individual EU nationals applying for permanent residence cards in the UK. With this scheme, a decision is reached by the Home Office in a matter of weeks rather than months and applicants will have their passports returned to them after 1 day of submitting their application. On 19 December 2016 the Home Office expanded the fast-track pilot scheme to include families and dependents of EU nationals.
As the Home Office are currently considering methods of expediting the application process, it is likely that they are envisaging a large number of applications being made and, consequently, a significant backlog of undecided applications due to the failures of the current system. As we do not currently have this fast-track system in place and we are nearing closer to Brexit, we advise you to make an application for your permanent residence card as soon as possible in order for you to avoid this foreseeable delay in securing your position in the UK.
If you are unsure as to whether you are eligible for a permanent residence card, our team of experts will be able to assess your current position and advise you accordingly.
Legal Advice for EEA Permanent Residence Cards Post Brexit
Our immigration lawyers have extensive experience in preparing Permanent Residence and Naturalisation applications for applicants. It is of paramount importance that EEA nationals consider their options in residing in the UK following the Brexit referendum. Furthermore, there would be benefits in acquiring documents that prove your right to work and and live (permanently or otherwise) in the UK as an EEA national in anticipation of Brexit transitional arrangements.
If you wish to consider your options following Brexit or are concerned about your current position in the UK, please do not hesitate to contact our Immigration Team so we can assess your matter and if necessary advise you of the next steps you should take in a consultation.
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.