Following the vote to leave the UK in the EU Referendum on 23rd June 2016, the situation for EU nationals living in the UK continues to be unclear.
In the 3 ½ weeks that have passed since the vote, the government’s refusal to provide clarity on EU nationals’ right to remain in the UK has led to criticism that EU nationals’ status is being used as a bargaining chip, to be deployed in negotiations regarding the future status of UK nationals living in the EU. Statements made over the weekend by David Davis, the new Brexit Minister, that EU migrants may face a cut-off date after which a right to remain in the UK would no longer apply, will do nothing to reassure EU nationals that their future in the UK is secure.
On 12 July, James Brokenshire, who held the role of Immigration Minister until last week said that a variety of options regarding immigration control are being looked at. This would appear to indicate that the government are considering a wholesale review of immigration categories and not just the status of EU nationals in the UK, see the full article here. The stance of newly-appointed Immigration Minister, Robert Goodwill, is not yet clear.
Until the UK commences the process to exit the EU, the law remains the same and EU nationals’ rights to live, work and study in the UK continue as before the Referendum. This position will only alter once Article 50 of the Treaty of the European Union is triggered, and the subsequent exit negotiations are concluded – a process which is expected to take two years.
For many EU citizens living and working in the UK however, the underlying sense of uncertainty will continue to be troubling.
Our advice is that if you are an EU national or a family member of an EU national living in the UK, you should act now to ensure that your immigration status is protected as far as possible. We are able to offer you advice as to the options available, and the length of time the various courses of action take to complete.
Please contact June Holmes in our Immigration Department on 0191 243 8164 us to make an appointment if you are thinking of regularising your immigration status or seeking further information as to what your options are.