European Nationals and Brexit

23 June 2017

The Government has now indicated that transitional arrangements will be made for EU Citizens after Brexit.

But what will these be and what happens if I don't fall under these provisions?

Those people most likely to benefit post-Brexit:
• European nationals and family members who have already acquired permanent residence and
• European nationals who have an EU right of residence but have not yet acquired permanent residence, and their family members.

This means that there are some groups of people who are currently vulnerable and need immigration assistance from an expert immigration team as soon as possible to avoid delay in regularising their stay in the UK.

Are you at risk?

This of course means that there are people potentially at risk:

1. European nationals and family members who do not have the EU right of residence but are living in the UK anyway. This means long term resident European nationals who have never worked or been self-employed. I have noticed that this is now causing issued with people receiving benefits in the UK also.

A conservative estimate would be that there are hundreds of thousands of such people living in the UK who have never previously needed to worry about their visa situation.

2. Non-EEA nationals from outside the UK who derive a right of residence through a family member who is a British or other EU citizen. Through cases such as Baumbast and Zambrano, the Court of Justice of the European Union has expanded residence rights beyond those set out in the Citizens Directive. The Home Office was reluctant to acknowledge this and it could be that this group will be vulnerable.

The numbers are probably relatively small but could still run to tens of thousands.

3. Non-EEA nationals from outside the UK who are family members of British citizens who have benefited from the Surinder Singh right of return in EU law. This is something the UK Government and Home Office has always resisted and in any new legislation a specific provision may not be made for them.

Again, this group could be in the tens of thousands at a UK level.

What can you do?

The simple answer is - Get residence documents

Applying for residence documents is £65 for an application and it offers clarity about a person's current status which will be essential post-Brexit.

It would be beneficial that European nationals and family members apply for residence certificates or cards as soon as possible.

The process can be quite daunting and the Home Office are keen to refuse applications where they can.

This is why seeking professional legal advice could be the best option for you and your family.

This is something which we specialise in at HHD and one of our Immigration team has previously worked in the Home Office Immigration department.

Anyone who thinks they qualify for permanent residence, make an application for a permanent residence certificate or card.

This also means that people who do not qualify now are given a chance to make sure they do qualify.

Another benefit of having a document certifying permanent residence as an EEA national is that you need to have had permanent residence for a year at the time you apply for British Citizenship and the document proves that in the eyes of the Home Office.

At HHD we also specialise in obtaining British Citizenship for nationals of European and non-European countries.

As soon as the Government formalise Brexit the rush for Europeans to get a visa is anticipated to be unlike anything the Home Office has dealt with before.

Why wait until then?


Legel Executive, Immigration Department

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