The UK’s impending departure from the European Union is creating much uncertainty and anxiety among settled inhabitants and employers.
European nationals and their family members who have been residing in the UK for a significant period of time, and employers with a high proportion of European nationals in their workforces, are all asking the same questions.
They want to know what Brexit means for them, and whether there is any action they should be taking ahead of the UK’s formal leaving date of 29 March 2019 – now barely 12 months away.
Companies are having to devise strategies for their businesses based on conjecture. Some, such as the US money transfer group MoneyGram, have said they will have to relocate to continental Europe, while Lloyds of London and several foreign investment banks have said they will transfer certain roles or operations away from London.
European nationals are concerned about the lack of detailed information available, and about conflicting advice.
On the one hand they are being told there is no longer any need to apply for a registration certificate (for EEA nationals), a residence card (for EEA family members), or permanent residency (for nationals and their family, if eligible).
Instead they are told they should wait until October 2018, then apply for temporary or settled status. The government has said the process for granting temporary or settled status will begin, on a voluntary basis, six months before the EU leaving date.
However European nationals are also being told that they should apply for a registration certificate, residence card or permanent residency as soon as they can.
Mandeep Khroud, senior associate, says: “After studying the information released on 14 February by Parliament’s Home Affairs Committee, it seems to us at this stage that best advice is to go ahead and make the appropriate applications under the present system.
“We believe it is wise to secure registration, residence, or permanent residency as soon as eligible, regardless of the fact that new requirements are about to be introduced.”
Applications under the current system are based on EU law, which is about to lapse, whereas applications for temporary or settled status will be determined under UK domestic law. However, both the old and the new process will involve similar questions, and similar documents.
So if an applicant for status already has a registration certificate, residence card or permanent residency, the UKVI (UK Visas & Immigration) agency will already hold most of the information it needs on its own system. It is therefore likely to be able to deal with the application that much more quickly than if it had to start from scratch.
This ties in with the government’s announcement that EU citizens who do hold permanent residency in the UK will not have to provide any further proof of residence. The UKVI will use its existing data to confirm what status he or she should be granted.
It is anticipated that the same process will be used if an applicant who applies for temporary or settled status has already been granted a registration certificate.
It may seem strange to an applicant to have to submit two applications in a short space of time, especially when it seems that the first application is not strictly necessary. But bear in mind the unprecedented scale of what will be happening. It is likely that over three million people will potentially be required to apply for either settled or temporary status in a short period of time, so anything that can be done to expedite the new process and shorten the timescale has to be a good option.
Published: 22 February 2018
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