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