Guest Article: By Rebecca Harper
As Britain is on the eve of triggering the Article 50 negotiation process, many EU nationals around the UK are left wondering what the future holds for them.
Peers in the House of Lords voted to reject the original bill, stating that they wanted confirmation that the rights of EU citizens in the UK would be protected, and to ensure all deals would be subject to a parliamentary vote. Campaign groups have repeatedly called for politicians to avoid using EU migrants, and those Brits living throughout Europe, as bargaining chips.
As it stands, EU nationals still have the right to live and work in the UK and no one can be deported at this juncture. For EU nationals living in the UK, this offers little comfort that they will still be entitled to stay when the two year Brexit negotiation process comes to a close. There have been plenty of horror stories in the news of EU nationals receiving poorly-worded letters from the Home Office instructing them to make arrangements to leave following clerical errors in their applications. If you’re curious about your future, read on to see what comfort we can gather from the little news we have.
Since the Brexit vote was announced, 135,000 people have applied for residency in the UK. The process is different depending on whether you have been in the UK for more than 5 years. If you’ve been normally resident in the UK for less than five years, you will need to apply for a registration certificate, while those who have been in the UK for longer than 5 years will need to apply for permanent residence status. Expect to wait a little longer than usual as the Home Office struggles to deal with the backlog of paperwork. Unfortunately, you have to send your passport in with your application, so it might be unworkable for many.
If you aren’t working, it might be advisable to purchase private medical insurance. This has been touted as a key factor in deciding if individuals can remain in the UK following Brexit. This unfairly impacts students, as many will not be working and will, therefore, need to look into private medical care. The theory is that if someone isn’t working, then they won’t be making national insurance contributions, and therefore they shouldn’t be allowed to take anything from the system.
Whether you decide to apply for residency or not, you will still want to make sure your documents are in order. Ensuring your EU National Identity card is up to date is the first step. You should also start keeping accurate records of every time you have left the UK and for how long in the past five years. Your work history may also come under scrutiny, so it makes sense to sort through your payslips and put everything in order.
If you have children that were born in the UK, they may be entitled to British passports. If your child was born in Britain and they were born on or after 6 April 2006, your child will be entitled to British citizenship if you had acquired residency before their birth. If one parent is British, the child will also be able to apply for British citizenship and a passport. Securing your own citizenship doesn’t necessarily have to be a formal process, as you automatically acquire EEA permanent residence once you have been living in the UK for more than five years while exercising Treaty Rights. For children born before April 6 2006, one parent must have acquired official documentation from the Home Office confirming their residency status.
This is an issue that has wide-reaching implications, so it makes sense to make sure your voice is heard. There are plenty of campaign groups, such as The 3 Million, working to ensure that migrants voices are heard. The best way to ensure security for all of the EU nationals who have made their home in the UK is to ensure that there is a complete picture of who is affected by any potential changes.
As Britain is on the eve of triggering the Article 50 negotiation process, many EU nationals around the UK are left wondering what the future holds for them. Peers in the House of Lords voted to reject the original bill, stating that they wanted confirmation that the rights of EU citizens in the UK would be protected, and to ensure all deals would be subject to a parliamentary vote. Campaign groups have repeatedly called for politicians to avoid using EU migrants, and those Brits living throughout Europe, as bargaining chips.