5 July 2017

UNITED KINGDOM: First proposal put forward for EU Citizens living in the UK

Theresa May, the British Prime Minister, has put forward a controversial first proposal on EU citizens rights who are currently residing in the UK as a result of the vote of the Brexit vote.

Decisions on residency for EU nationals will be determined according to a cut off date which is expected to be just before or on ‘Brexit’ - two years after article 50 was triggered on 29 March 2017 - although the exact date is yet to be confirmed.

EU citizens residing continuously for 5 years prior to that point will be allowed to apply for ‘settled’ status and could remain indefinitely. For those who arrive before the cut off date will have the right to accrue 5 years residence and then later apply for settled status. Important to note however, even those who already have permanent residence status will have to make the application for settled status. 

There would be a two year time frame after the cut off date in which to apply for this status, which the government hopes will mean that applications are more staggered and the Home Office will not be overwhelmed.

Those arriving after the cut off date will have no guarantee of indefinite stay and would likely receive a visa with an expiration date. After this date the authorities would also refer to UK immigration Law which is considerably harsher than EU immigration law

Since the UK is still a member of the EU until March 2019 the rights of EU nationals remain unchanged until that point.

How does this affect the client?

Although this first proposal is subject to change after further negotiations, employers with EU nationals working in the UK should be prepared for the scenario that if no deal is made with the EU and policy falls back on UK immigration law; then applications could get considerably harder for EU nationals. Further to this costs may go up for said applications and lead times will increase as requirements become stricter. 


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