EU citizens’ rights after Brexit

The Government has published its proposals on the rights and status of EU citizens in the UK, and UK nationals in the EU, after the UK exits the EU.

A Government’s press release confirms “the creation of a new ‘settled status’ for EU citizens who arrive before a cut-off date (also called the specified date), which is yet to be specified and will be agreed as part of the negotiations with the EU.”

“Applicants who already have 5 years’ continuous residence [qualified persons] in the UK will be immediately eligible for settled status. Those who arrived before the cut-off date but do not yet meet the 5-year threshold by exit day will be allowed to stay until they reach that milestone and can also secure settled status.”

The policy paper proposes an online system to process applications that will give applicants the same “indefinite leave to remain” status as many non-European nationals who have also lived in the UK for 5 years.

Key points of the UK’s proposals:

  • Those granted settled status will be able to live, work, study and claim benefits just as they can now.
  • The cut-off date for eligibility is undecided but will be between 29 March 2017 and 29 March 2019.
  • Family members of EU citizens living abroad will be able to return and apply for settled status.
  • EU nationals in the UK for less than 5 years at the cut-off date will be able to continue living and working in the UK. Once resident for 5 years, they can apply for settled status.
  • Those arriving after the cut-off date will be able to stay temporarily. But there should be “no expectation” they will be granted permanent residence.
  • A period of “blanket residence permission” may apply to give officials time to process applications to stay in the UK.
  • The Home Office will no longer require evidence that EU citizens who weren’t working held “comprehensive sickness insurance”.

However, there are several main concerns about the Government’s proposals as the proposals do not cover all situations (e.g. Zambrano rights, Surinder Singh route), there is no details of application process/evidential requirements, there is concerns about family rights etc.

If you have questions about your immigration status or need advice on the matter, please feel free to contact our senior solicitor Pam Barar or our immigration team.

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