BRIXTON LEGAL: Your rights after Brexit

Pam DouglasPam Douglas is a solicitor with local firm Wainwright & Cummins. Each month, she takes a common enquiry and asks colleagues to answer it for readers

Brexit graffiti on a wall

Status of EU citizens post Brexit

Many local residents have, understandably, expressed concern about what will happen to them and their loved ones following Brexit. My colleague, Monica Karir, who heads up our immigration team, has looked into the issues and gives her take on this worrying issue …

On 26 June this year, the UK government set out its position on the status of EU citizens post-Brexit.

Briefly, there will be new rights in UK law for qualifying EU citizens, enforceable in the UK courts but The Court of Justice of the European Union will have no jurisdiction in the UK. The proposals are:

EU nationals who have been living in the UK for five years before the “specified date” will be granted “settled status” in the UK. The specified date is likely to be between 29 March 2017 and the date of UK’s exit from the EU.

Any EU nationals who entered the UK before the specified date and who are yet to accrue five years’ residency in the UK, will be given the opportunity to build up five years’ residency to enable them to qualify for settled status. In the interim they will be granted “temporary status”.

Any EU nationals who enter the UK after the specified date will not be able to benefit under the proposals. However, they might be assisted under the UK Immigration rules or possibly under new rules for EU nationals under the post-exit immigration arrangements.

So, family members of qualifying EU nationals who join them before the UK’s exit will be able to apply for settled status after five years’ residency in the UK. But family members who join after the UK has exited the EU may have to qualify under the UK immigrations rules or possibly under the post-exit immigration arrangements.

It will be mandatory for EU nationals and their family members living in the UK to apply for their new residence status in the UK – settled or temporary, depending on the individual circumstances.  Anyone without a residence document will be deemed undocumented and will be at risk of removal from UK.

The UK’s proposals in relation to the treatment of EU nationals are subject to EU offering reciprocal treatment for UK nationals overseas.

We are entering uncharted legal territory and what the final exit deal on the rights of EU citizens living in the UK and those UK citizens living in other EU member states will be, remains to be seen.

However, we advise all EU nationals living in the UK who have completed five years’ residence and wish to remain living here for the foreseeable future, to seriously consider applying for permanent UK residence status. and then for British citizenship, as soon as they become eligible.

As usual, please get in touch if you have any questions and we’ll do our best to assist.

Please contact the team at Wainwright & Cummins with any enquiries: