It would be an understatement to say that since the UK voted to leave the EU last year, there has been a great deal of uncertainty amongst the thousands of EEA nationals who are exercising their Treaty Rights here in the UK. Although this uncertainty is not likely to be resolved in the near future, now that Brexit talks are officially underway, EU nationals in the UK; as well as British expats, have been given an inkling of Mrs May’s position and the UK’s Brexit strategy.
What Are the Rules for EEA Nationals Prior to the UK’s Brexit Strategy?
Currently under the Immigration (European Economic Area) Regulations 2016, a national from any EEA country may come to the UK and exercise their Treaty Rights. In order to exercise Treaty Rights an individual must either;
- be in employment or actively seeking employment;
- studying; or
- be economically self-sufficient.
Employers in Britain do not need to have permission to employ EEA nationals whereas under the Immigration Rules, non-EU citizens seeking employment in the UK are subject to the points based system whereby entry to the UK is limited to skilled workers in sectors where there are shortages.
After an EEA national has lived continuously and legally in the UK for a period of 5 years, they may then have the right to apply for permanent residence. The Home Office guidance can be confusing as it is constantly changing; therefore it is advisable to attain legal representation such as our specialist immigration solicitors and barristers, before making a permanent residence application in the wake of the UK’s Brexit strategy.
The UK’s Brexit Strategy
During the first official Brexit talks, the Prime Minister Theresa May gave a glimpse of the UK’s Brexit strategy and vowed that any EEA national and their family members who are currently residing in the UK will not be forced to leave as soon as the UK has officially exited the EU. She has pledged to offer “settled status” to EEA citizens who have legally been present in the UK for 5 years, prior to a “cut-off” date. To apply for this “settled status” it is being proposed that EU nationals will need to join an ID register, with the process being as;
“streamlined and user-friendly as possible for all individuals, including those who already hold a permanent residence document under current free movement rules”.
This would supposedly allow the transfer of existing benefits such as health care arrangements and eligibility for loans and maintenance support for higher education to EU citizens and their family members for those who were residents prior to this “cut-off date”. Unfortunately, there has been no elaboration as to when this so-called cut-off date is. It has been suggested that it could be any point from when Article 50 was triggered in March of this year and March 2019 when the UK is scheduled to formally leave the EU. The Prime Minister is looking for these initial offers to enshrine the rights of EU citizens in the UK to be reciprocated for Brits who are exercising their Treaty Rights in other EU countries.
At this early stage in the Brexit negotiations, however, the amount of uncertainty experienced by EEA nationals is still running high, therefore before making any changes to your status in the UK, it is recommended that specialist immigration advice from our immigration lawyers is sought.
Using Legal Representation to Apply for UK Permanent Residence
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 a UK permanent residence 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 Immigration Rules.
Successful UK Permanent Residence 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 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.
Our offices 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.