As the UK Government is still going through the Brexit legislation, when to trigger Article 50 and start the formal process of leaving the EU, the UK very much remains a member of the EU throughout this time, and until Article 50 negotiations have concluded.
It is a general consensus that when the UK do leave the EU, the arrangements will be worked out for in the lines that the legal status of EU & EEA nationals living in the UK, and that of UK nationals in EU member states, will be properly protected.
Therefore there is no need to panic and following the rumours about the rights of the EU and EEA nationals have been affected at present or anytime soon.
The following 5 points will assist you to get a clear understanding of the immigration status and rights of EU and EEA nationals in the UK
- EU nationals who have lived continuously and lawfully in the UK for at least 5 years automatically have a permanent right to reside in the UK. This means that they have a right to live in the UK permanently, in accordance with EU law. There is no requirement to register for documentation to confirm this status.
- EU nationals who have lived continuously and lawfully in the UK for at least 6 years are eligible to apply for British citizenship if they would like to do so.
- EU nationals who have lived in the UK for less than 5 years continue to have a right to reside in the UK in accordance with EU law. EU nationals do not need to register for any documentation in order to enjoy their free movement rights and responsibilities and it is open to the EU/EEA national if they decide to apply for a registration certificate for their convenience as there has been no change to government policy or processes.
- Non-EU family members of EU or EEA nationals must apply for a family permit if they wish to enter the UK under EU law, and they do not have a residence card issued by a member state.
- Extended family members of EU nationals must apply for a registration certificate (if they are an EU national) or residence card (if they are a non-EU national) if they wish to reside in the UK.
There has been no change to the right of EU nationals to reside in the UK and therefore no change to the circumstances in which someone could be removed from the UK.
EU / EEA nationals can only be removed from the UK if they are considered to pose a genuine, present and sufficiently serious threat to the public, if they are not lawfully resident or are abusing their free movement rights.
You are usually qualified if you are a citizen of a European Economic Area (EEA) country or Switzerland and you are one of the following:
- looking for work
You must provide proof that you are qualified.
You can also add a close or extended family member to your application. An extended family member must also be one or more of the following:
- dependent on the qualified person before coming to the UK – and will either continue to be dependent on them or live in the same house as them in the UK
- living in the same house as the qualified person before coming to the UK – and will either continue to live with them or be dependent on them in the UK
- cared for by the qualified person because they have a serious medical condition
You may be able to apply for a residence card if you are from outside the European Economic Area (EEA) and you are the family member, or extended family member, of an EEA national.
You don’t need to apply for a residence card as a family member but it can:
- help you re-enter the country more quickly and easily if you travel abroad
- show employers you are allowed to work in the UK
- help prove you qualify for certain benefits and services
You must apply for a residence card or have a valid EEA family permit if you are an extended family member.
You can apply for a document to prove your right to live in the UK if you are a citizen of a European Economic Area (EEA) country or Switzerland. If you satisfy the Home Office eligibility criteria than you will be eligible for a permanent residence document if you have lived in the UK for 5 years (or earlier in some situations – for example, if you retire). You can apply for a registration certificate if you have lived in the UK for less than 5 years. You may also be eligible as the partner, child or family member of someone from the EEA or Switzerland.
Extended family members of EU nationals must apply for a registration certificate (if they are an EU national) or residence card (if they are a non-EU national) if they wish to reside in the UK.