Remember this slogan? Britain is now leaving the UK .
What are the implications? This is the question everyone is asking, particularly EU national and their family members, who face an uncertain future in the UK. Equally perplexing is the effect on the family members of third-country nationals the EU national may be connected with.
The question arises what can be done to protect their status in the wake of Brexit. Many are concerned that the UK government will use EU nationals as a bargaining tool.
Many EU nationals and their family members are considering applying for British Citizenship or Permanent Residence (PR). A person automatically qualifies for PR if they meet the 5 years residence requirements. There is the option to apply for Permanent Residence. As one can imagine there has been a surge in applications, at the Home Office in the light of Brexit. However, proving Permanent Residence is not easy, and it’s important that sufficient evidence is provided. The Home Office will not tell you what you need to submit. The application form is also very lengthy and consists of 85 pages. The form is far from straightforward, and you will definitely need to take your time on this one.
Our experience in this area is that the applicant, whether they are an EU national or a family member has numerous questions, from wanting to know whether they qualify for Permanent Residence, to whether they can include family members on their application at the same time.
Also what are the implications under EU law on becoming a British Citizen? EU law has always been very generous, when dealing with family reunion cases, particularly from third countries Eg Nigeria Ghana-India etc. Whereas the Immigration Rules are far more restrictive and make family reunion if not difficult, virtually impossible. If you are looking to apply for a family permit for a family member or a close relative (extended family members) a lot more information may be needed. If you do decide to become a British Citizen you also need to consider whether your country of origin allows you to hold dual nationality.
The chances are you are reading this because you have a specific problem and you are not clear on your position after Brexit. Whether you are applying for Permanent Residence or deciding to become a British Citizen. One thing is certain, now is the best time to find a solution as the UK is still part of the EU and will be so for the next 2 years.