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January 2017

Brexit update, 17-01-2017, following Theresa May’s speech on Brexit today

Theresa May, has today highlighted the Government's commitment to limit free movement of European citizens, as one of its top priorities in the upcoming negotiations with the European Union. This would mean that EEA nationals, arriving in the UK following Brexit are likely to face new travel and work related restrictions, the exact details of which are yet to be devised. The PM further indicated that the Government would push for a 'phased period of implementation' which could mean that any new arrangements, including those in relation to immigration, do not kick in immediately on completion of the two year period following the triggering of Article 50 (expected in March 2017).

Whilst Mrs May has reaffirmed her intention to guarantee the status of EEA nationals already residing in the UK as soon as possible, this would hinge on British Citizens residing in other Member States receiving the same protections, which may take months, or indeed years to agree on. Mrs May's speech therefore brings little comfort to businesses and individuals alike who now face an agonising wait, while the Government negotiates this issue with its European counterparts, to see if they would be able to secure their current and future workforce or status in the UK.

It remains the Legal Centre’s, then and now, that EEA nationals (and their family members) consider applying to the Home Office for documentation recognising their rights of residence/permanent residence in the UK (and, where appropriate, naturalise as British) to put them in the strongest position when Brexit finally is implemented.  

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June 2016

Some Post Brexit Questions Answered

The below summary is based on the current developments and may naturally change in the course of time
What happens now?

There are no immediate changes, yet. The UK remains a member of the EU today and for some time, for approximately a period of 2 years.  
The mechanism for leaving the EU, as set out in the Article 50 of the Treaty on the European Union (TEU), requires the UK to formally give notice of its intention to leave, triggering a 2 year period (which may be extended by unanimous agreement of all the other Member countries) after which its membership of the EU will cease. The Prime Minister's resignation speech recently indicated that the Article 50 was unlikely to be invoked until a new leader is in place in autumn 2016.  Once the notice has been given, the UK will begin negotiations with the EU for the terms of exit.
What will happen to EU migrants already in the UK?

The EU citizens already in the UK continue to have free movement rights (until the UK formally leaves the EU).
It is expected that transitional arrangements will be made for these EU citizens to be granted permission under the UK immigration Rules when the UK leaves the EU.  However it remains to be determined by the Government what that permission will it be (indefinite leave or temporary leave), where the line will be drawn (eg those who have already acquired permanent residence under the EU law having lived in the UK for 5 years, those present in the UK on the date of the referendum, those present in the UK on the date the UK ceases to be a member of the EU etc), and what application process may be involved.

What can EU nationals already in the UK do to protect their and their family members' status ?

The answer is probably obvious. Those EU citizens, who have been economically active in the currently accepted by the UK BA form, can apply to become permanently settled in the UK. Please note that since 2015 the EU citizens, wishing to become British citizens, must apply and obtain formal confirmation of their Permanent Residence status in the UK. Those EU citizens, who do not qualify for Permanent Residence may (it may be now even possible to say "need") to apply for at least the so-called "blue card" - the UK EEA Registration Card. All the mentioned applications (except the British citizenship application) currently fall within the still valid EEA Regulations, which are rather generous compared to the UK Immigration Law. Obtaining Permanent Residence or Registration Certificate may also protect the status of the EU citziens' family members, many of them being non-EEA nationals.
What will happen to EU nationals wishing to come to the UK once it is no longer in the EU?

Nationals of the EU member states would need to meet the requirements of UK domestic immigration laws.  For those simply visiting the UK for leisure or business there is unlikely to be a significant impact, but for those seeking to work or study in the UK, it is expected that entry clearance applications will be required, in the same way as non-EU nationals.
It is very unlikely however that the UK Immigration Rules will remain entirely in their current form.  In respect of business migration, the present Rules were designed to meet the UK's skilled migrant labour needs, in addition to the EU labour availability, so inevitably must be redesigned to address the totality of the UK's labour needs - both high skilled and low skilled.  Procedural changes are also likely to be necessary to enable the UK to cope with the increased number of applications to be processed.
What will happen to UK citizens living in other EU member states?

Again, there is no immediate change for British citizens in the EU.
Ultimately the position of British citizens in the EU will be a matter for the EU and the constituent member states and this will be a key part of the exit negotiations.  Undoubtedly the UK will wish to secure the status of its citizens abroad and reciprocity is likely to feature highly in the negotiating positions.

We will be duly updating our web-site in line with the Government's expected changes in the UK and EEA Immigration Law.

The above options are not exhaustive as we treat every client's case individually. Please do not hesitate to book a phone, Skype or office consultation with us for a professional immigration advice and possible further representation before the UK Border Agency or the First Tier or Upper Tier Tribunal (Immigration and Asylum Chamber) (FTT/UTT IAC).

We offer same day/instant Skype or phone consultations.

You can book your initial Skype or phone consultation with us via the following link: Legal Centre Skype or Phone Consultations