Theresa May has provided a clearer picture as to how the UK will manage the “settled status” of the three million EU nationals currently living in the UK. The 15 page document outlines the process and procedures that are to be put in place in the future.
EU citizens will have to apply for inclusion on a “settled status” register”, should they wish to continue residing in the UK post-Brexit, and be included in a specific Home Office central database, whereupon an ID card will be issued to the applicants.
EU nationals that had applied for the permanent residency status before the Brexit referendum will have to apply again. This, however, would involve a much more streamlined process and applicants would not be required to provide information relating to sickness insurance.
A £18,600 minimum income threshold will be imposed for EU nationals intending to bring in a spouse to live in the UK; EU citizens who have obtained the “settled status” will have the same rights as British citizens and would therefore be able to bring family members into the UK, subject to the income threshold. The Supreme Court described the income threshold, initially brought about in 2015 for non-EU spouses of UK citizens, as “particularly harsh”. It is rumoured that EU citizens may lose voting rights and protection from the ECJ, which would no longer have jurisdiction over the UK. However, the document includes guarantees on UK pensions and social security benefits.
A concession period of two years will be granted to EU nationals during which time they will be able to gather the evidence to demonstrate five continuous years of residence in Britain, as the Home Office intends to avoid any “cliff edge” situation where individuals have to leave their life in the UK without having had sufficient time to make the appropriate application. The cut-off date is yet to be announced. Any EU national that fails to make an application for settled status will lose their right to remain in the UK.
Despite Theresa May’s expressed desire to avoid the possibility of splitting up families after the triggering of Brexit, legal experts maintain the terms of the settled status may cause EU citizens to lose their entitlement to be joined by family members, including parents. Understandably many EU citizens will be considering revising any plans they may have had to come to the UK rather than risk being caught up in a situation whereby they a separated from family members with no hope of being able to re-unite in the UK. This in turn may be damaging to UK businesses as in some businesses the expertise needed may not be able to be accessed due to the altered status currently enjoyed of EU citizens and the resulting in lack of ease of movement from Europe to the UK. The government has made it clear that it will control immigration and will not be swayed by British business needs. An attitude it may live to regret.
Should you wish to know more about how the triggering of Brexit could impact your future rights to remain in the UK, do not hesitate to contact us at firstname.lastname@example.org or telephone +44(0)203 102 9482.