The Home Office has received a record number of applications from EU nationals seeking to apply for Permanent Residence and Registration Certificates and is apparently veering towards meltdown. The current guidance on the Home Office’s website states as follows:

“You don’t need to do anything as a result of Article 50 being triggered. There will be no change to the rights and status of EU nationals living in the UK while the UK remains in the EU. Under EU law, you don’t need a document to confirm your permanent residence status in the UK.”

It also states that it will send out email updates to let people who have signed up know about “developments” that “might” affect them, including the steps that people “may need” to take to confirm their status after the UK leaves the EU. Such ambiguous advice is clearly unhelpful as EU nationals face continuing angst about their future in the UK.

The Prime Minister, in her letter to the President of the European Council, stated that early agreement on the rights of UK nationals in the EU, and EU nationals in the UK, are on a reciprocal basis and that this was a priority issue for the forthcoming negotiations. She also emphasised, “we will always put the interests of citizens first”. Given that Mrs May has repeatedly stated that no guarantees are to be given to EU nationals who have been living in the UK as to whether they will be able to remain in the UK, I think the above is not the best advice. If the Home Office cannot cope with the volume of applications being filed, then that is simply a matter for them. I for one will continue to encourage clients who are eligible to apply for permanent residence to do so and those who are not yet eligible can and should apply for a Registration Certificate confirming their right of residence.

Those people who believe that they may not qualify because they feel they might have spent too much time outside the UK for work reasons or may not qualify because they might not have the documents to prove they were resident, or that they might not qualify as self-sufficient persons or students because they did not have private medical insurance, should seek legal advice as soon as possible to see if there are ways in which these issues can be overcome.  We are currently advising a client who was having difficulty in providing documentation that she was working in the UK for a continuous period of 5 years from 1993.

We advised the client as to the type of alternative documentation she could provide in the absence of documentation the Home Office normally accept and have managed to get the Home Office to agree that she was exercising treaty rights between 1993-1998 but have asked her to provide further proof (over and above what was provided and which ought to have been acceptable in the circumstances of the case) that she continued to reside in the UK to date.

The Home Office website also advises as follows:

Extended family members of EU nationals

There will be no change to the rights and status of extended family members of EU nationals while the UK remains in the EU. More information about bringing extended family members to the UK is available.

Irish nationals

Irish nationals continue to have separate rights which allow them to be treated in the same way as British nationals in most circumstances.

Croatian nationals

There will be no change to the rights and status of Croatian nationals while the UK remains in the EU. It continues to be the case that Croatian nationals might need to apply for a registration certificate to be allowed to work in the UK.

Removing EU nationals from the UK

It continues to be the case that EU nationals can only be removed from the UK if they:

  • are considered to pose a genuine, present and sufficiently serious threat to the public
  • aren’t lawfully resident or are abusing their EU free movement rights”

Having filed many applications over the last few months, I am very pleased to say that our experience, so far, has been that the Home Office has been reasonably efficient and we have received all our  applications approved within between 6 to 12 weeks.

My team and I would be very happy to have an initial discussion if you are an EU national who requires advice and wishes to make an application for permanent residence/right to remain to the Home Office.

Please note that this blog is provided for general information only. It is not intended to amount to advice on which you should rely. You must obtain professional or specialist advice before taking, or refraining from, any action on the basis of the content of this blog.

Edwin Coe LLP is a Limited Liability Partnership, registered in England & Wales (No.OC326366). The Firm is authorised and regulated by the Solicitors Regulation Authority. A list of members of the LLP is available for inspection at our registered office address: 2 Stone Buildings, Lincoln’s Inn, London, WC2A 3TH. “Partner” denotes a member of the LLP or an employee or consultant with the equivalent standing.

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