Mohaduba Bothongo is an immigration paralegal at Deo Volente Solicitors.
EU citizens arriving in the UK before the “cut-off” date
EU citizens who have lived in the UK for five consecutive years before a certain cut-off date will be eligible to apply for settled status subject to an assessment of their suitability. It is not yet clear what this cut-off date will be as the UK Government are still negotiating.
Those EU citizens who are resident in the UK but haven’t been for a continuous period of five years, yet by the negotiated cut-off date will be entitled to stay until they have been, and then will be able to apply for settled status subject to the above assessment.
Family members of both above groups will be able to apply for settled status after five years continuous residence regardless of the cut-off date.
EU citizens who have arrived in the UK before the negotiated cut-off date will continue to enjoy the benefits such as free healthcare, education, social security and pensions.
EU citizens arriving in the UK after the cut-off date
When the UK eventually leaves the EU, there will be a ‘grace period’ meaning there will be a certain amount of time after the cut-off date where EU citizens will be able to either apply for settled status if they are eligible, or make arrangements to leave the UK. Again, it is unclear how long this will be for whilst the UK Government’s negotiations are still ongoing.
It is also unclear whether the cut-off date will be before the UK’s official leaving date from the EU or on that actual date. If the cut-off date is before the official UK leaving date from the EU, EU citizens can continue to exercise their free movement up until the date the UK leaves the EU.
For an EU citizen who have arrived in the UK after the cut-off date but whilst we are still in the EU, they will be entitled to stay in the UK for the remaining time we are in the EU, and for the grace period afterwards. In this time, they should apply for leave to remain in the UK. If successful, they will be granted temporary residence in the UK. Once the temporary residence expires, an application will need to be made for further leave to remain if wishing to continue to reside in the UK.
EU citizens with permanent residence
EU citizens who currently have permanent residence will also need to apply for settled status. This is because permanent residence is based on the UK’s membership of the EU and once Britain leaves, permanent residence will no longer be valid. The settled status document will essentially be a replacement of your permanent residence card. There is no set up to apply for these yet.
For anyone unsure of their immigration status throughout EU negotiations, please contact with Deo Volente Solicitors. We offer a free half an hour consultation where we can advise you on your status taking into account your specific circumstances and advise you on fees in that time.