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The UK is set to leave the EU on 29th March 2019. All EU nationals and their non-EU Family Members will need to apply under the new EU settlement scheme from 30th March 2019 to 30th June 2021 (or 31 December 2020 if the UK leaves the EU without a deal). Even those who already have permanent residence will need to apply under the new scheme.

If you apply to the EU Settlement Scheme successfully, you’ll be able to continue living and working in the UK after 30 June 2021 (or 31st December 2020 if there is no deal).

You’ll be granted either settled status or pre-settled status.

You will be granted settled status if you have lived in the UK for a continuous 5-year period or if you already have permanent residence.

If you do not have 5 years’ continuous residence, you will be granted pre-settled status and once you reach the 5 years you will qualify for settled status.

EU nationals with a valid EU passport and their non-EU citizens family members who hold biometric residence cards can apply now during the public test phase running from 21st January 2019.

Make sure that you apply under the new EU settlement scheme in time!

If you need assistance completing the application please contact us. We will be providing more information about the new scheme and how we can help you once this is set to open to the general public.



The uncertainty generated by Brexit has motivated us to prepare a comic that explains in an educative and informative way the different options that Europeans and their families have available to minimise the impact of Brexit.



 

The UK government and the European Union (EU) have agreed a common position regarding the immigration status of Europeans living in the UK after Brexit.

It is expected that the departure of the UK from the EU day will commence on 29 March 2019 and that there will be a transitional period of two years for Europeans and their family members to apply for a new status in the UK (see below).

Some important points of these agreement are:

·         The agreement protects those Europeans and their family members who are legally residing in the UK by the date that the UK leaves the EU (expected to be 29.3.19).

 

·         It will now be compulsory for all Europeans and their family members to have residence documents.

 

·       During the transitional period (29.3.19 – 29-3-21) those Europeans and their family members who have been residing lawfully in the UK for 5 years or more will need to apply for “settled status” under the UK rules.

 

·         Surprisingly, those who already have been issued with a permanent residence card will be asked to apply for “settled status” also.

 

·         Europeans and their family members who have been residing in the UK for less than 5 years during the transition period will need to apply for a “temporary status”. This temporary status will give them the right to continue to live and work in the UK with a view to accumulating five years residence and qualifying for settled status.

 

·         The common position excludes extended family members (except durable partners) such as brothers, cousins, etc. It is expected that this category of people will now only be able to come to the UK after 29.3.19 under the UK’s immigration laws which is practicable impossible.

 

·         The deal also fails to cover various identified categories of vulnerable persons such as single mothers of European children residing in the UK.

As I mentioned before this is just a common position and remains to be seen what the final agreement says about Europeans and their family members residing in the UK.

For questions and answers about this agreement please have a look at:  

https://ec.europa.eu/commission/sites/beta-political/files/2017-12-12_qa_citizens_rights_1.pdf

9/2/18

 

Banks and building societies are required to carry out further immigration status checks from 31st of October 2017. 

As part of the Government’s strategy to create a “hostile environment” for “illegal immigrants” in the UK, the Immigration Act 2014 requires banks and building societies to carry out immigration checks before opening new bank accounts and not to open accounts for those persons considered to be “disqualified”.

From 31st of October 2017, in addition to the checks carried out at the time of opening an account, banks and building societies are required to carry out immigration checks on all existing accounts with the objective of identifying which accounts should be closed and, in some circumstances, freeze those accounts preventing the account holder from accessing their funds. From 1st of January 2018, banks will have to carry out immigration checks on a quarterly basis.

The government estimates that the new scheme will identify in the first year an additional 6,000 individuals who have no right to reside in the UK and that this measure will encourage “illegal immigrants” to leave the UK voluntarily or risk losing their savings.

Serious concerns about this new scheme has been expressed. A report published in 2016 by the Chief Inspector of Borders and Immigration identified that banks had made an error in 10% of cases when carrying out immigration checks before opening accounts. If the same happens when the new system is in place, people's accounts could be wrongly closed/frozen which may result in people failing to pay their rent on time or having money to pay for food or transportation, etc. By the time the mistake is corrected a person could lose his/her property and not be able to access to his/her wages.

The Home Office has published some guidance for those who have been refused an account or whose accounts have been closed however there is not an emergency process in place to handle errors and people could wait weeks before the problem is resolved, if it is resolved at all. See guidance below:

https://www.gov.uk/government/publications/current-account-closed-or-refused-based-on-immigration-status/immigration-status-and-current-accounts

If you believe you could be affected by this new scheme or your money has already been frozen or account closed, please do not hesitate to contact us. 

One year after the Brexit referendum the government has finally announced its proposal setting out “our offer to EU citizens and their families in the UK”.

Please see the UK’s government proposal here:

https://www.gov.uk/guidance/status-of-eu-nationals-in-the-uk-what-you-need-to-know

and an interesting analysis about the proposal here:

https://www.theguardian.com/commentisfree/2017/jul/06/britain-brexit-eu-nationals-rights-theresa-may-european

Please remember that at the moment these are just proposals made by the UK government to the EU on how to “safeguard the position of EU citizens living in the UK and UK nationals living in the EU”.

For the time being the UK is still part of the EU and therefore the rights of EEA nationals residing, or wishing to reside in the UK, have not changed. EEA nationals who are exercising treaty rights (working, studying, self-sufficient, etc) in the UK are entitled to reside in the UK and so are their families. EEA nationals and their family members are also entitled to obtain from the UK government EEA documentation confirming their right to reside - permanently in some cases - in the UK. We strongly advise that you apply for the EEA documentation which is relevant to your case. 


The result of the EU referendum is likely to affect the future of EEA nationals living in the UK and of their family members although we do not know to what extent. So far it is not clear what sort of residence rights might be offered to them once the UK leaves the EU.