The Brexit Issue: A Guide for EU Nationals in the UK

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Among many other implications, Brexit will impact the EU nationals living in the UK. There may be transitory solutions for the time being, yet the EU nationals should consider strengthening their current status in the UK. Those who lived in the country for five years should apply for permanent residence. While the European Economic Area (EEA) Regulations are still in place, it makes sense to submit an application under these rules - the sooner the better. The Regulations define the right to remain in the UK for European nationals. It’s likely that these legal grounds will be reviewed in a rather restrictive fashion.

Now, what are your options as an EU national living in the UK?

1. Apply for Registration Certificate

Have you been in the UK for less than five years? Any EEA national residing in the UK as a ‘Qualified Person’ (working, studying or seeking employment in the UK) has a right to apply for a Registration Certificate. Unless you are entitled to Permanent Residence, that’s your smart thing to do.

2. Apply for Residence Card

You are an EEA national and have family in the UK? File your application for a residence card.  Under the current regulation, the resident’s family members have a right to remain in the country and obtain respective documentation.

3. Apply for Permanent Residence

Have you been in the UK for over five years? After this term, EEA citizens and their family can apply for permanent residence. There is a bunch of categories: the employed, self-employed, students, retired, job seekers, self-sufficient individuals. Each of these implies different documentation, yet the goal is the same: to secure the permanent status in the UK.

4. Apply for the UK Citizenship

Over six years in the UK? It’s high time you procured a British passport. EEA nationals may apply for naturalisation after this term. The procedure will go even faster in case the European national is married to a British national. EEA citizens can apply for permanent residence and passport at the same time. We strongly advise residence holders to apply for citizenship without delay before it’s too late. At this point, Brexit does not affect naturalisation applications filed under the Regulations in effect. 

5. Pending application? Proceed with it

Individuals who have already submitted their applications and are awaiting decision remain unaffected. Until the UK government takes any actions to repeal the existing regulations, the EEA nationals covered. In any case, it’s very unlikely that the amendments will have a retroactive force.

How should employers handle Brexit?

As of now, EEA nationals have a right to work in the United Kingdom. To cushion a possible blow in the future, they need to use the options as described above. Employers may have an even harder time recruiting and accommodating employees from the EU. British companies willing to acquire EU talents will need to be licensed as Tier 2 (long-term) and Tier 5 (temporary) employers.

If you have any Brexit-imposed difficulties as an employee or employer, feel free to contact us for advice.

Astons is a leading global immigration advisory firm with offices in London, Moscow, Dubai, Cyprus and China and offers residency & citizenship investment solutions in the UK,  EU & the Caribbean. Astons is a committed and regulated Member of the Investment Migration Council (IMC), for EU & Caribbean investment immigration.  

For further information or to discuss your personal circumstances in a private consultation, please contact Astons at info@astons.com  or call +44 207 292 2977.