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What does Brexit mean for thousands of EU nationals settled in the UK?

Written by
Woodgrange Solicitors
Date of Publication:
29 May 2018

Since the UK’s announcement to exit EU, there have been many reports about how Brexit will affect business and the economy and what its impact will be on the United Kingdom. Recently, a report has been provided by Migration Observatory that shows how Brexit will impact the EU nationals settled in the country.

Migration experts believe that after Brexit, thousands of Europeans settled in the United Kingdom could lose their permission to stay in the state. An application system to apply for "settled status" will be opened later in the year and Migration Observatory believe that many EU nationals will not be able to comply with this system- thus they will fail to secure the permission of the Home Office to stay in the UK.

Who Will be Affected?

The people who fail to provide evidence that they have lived in United Kingdom for five years and those who fail to apply for the application within the designated time limit may lose their right to live in the state after UK exits EU.

If the system proposed by the government goes ahead, most EU citizens will be able to resolve their status. However, there are major concerns about the minority who do not have evidence to show that they’ve been living in Britain. It is not possible to predict the number of people who may fail to provide the evidence, but experts believe that there may be thousands of such EU nationalists.

Settled status may not be granted to those citizens whose criminal records reveal that they have committed a crime and those who say that they are a European Union citizen, but are actually not.

System Relies on Already Available Information

The settled status system proposed by the government relies on the information that it already holds. For example, national insurance records from Department for Work and Pensions are included so those who are working in Britain won’t have to provide additional documents themselves.

The Migration Observatory’s report stipulates that people who work in the cash economy and don’t declare their earnings may struggle to proof that they have been working in Britain for five years. Children and elderly people could also lose their status simply because they do not realize how the new regulations affect them and they must apply for settled status.

Experts have also said that people with complicated cases may also struggle to acquire settled status. For example, a person who doesn’t meet the residency requirement of five years because of significant absences from UK, but can provide mitigating circumstances that would be examined by a caseworker to determine if he/she should be granted the legal status or not.

At Woodgrange Solicitors, we believe that controversies will emerge when the proposed system of the government becomes active. Many EU citizens are sure to lose their right to live in Britain if they don’t become aware of the government plans. If EU nationals who are eligible lose their status due to the new system, people would lose their trust in the government. Therefore, it is essential that the government streamline the system and make all the citizens aware of the proposed changes and provide directions and information that could aid the EU citizens in the United Kingdom.