Theresa May has recently published a policy paper which proposes the way in which the government intends to protect the rights of EU nationals residing in the UK after Britain leaves the European Union. The paper confirms the following five proposals. Firstly, a new 'settled status' for EU citizens will be created, which will be granted to EU citizens who arrive before a cut-off date. This date is to be decided during the ongoing Brexit negotiations and will be confirmed at a later point. The benefits of this status are that citizens would be treated in a similar fashion to a UK national.
Secondly, those EU citizens who already have 5 years of continued residence in the UK will be immediately granted 'settled status'. Thirdly, citizens who arrived before the cut-off date who have yet to reside in the UK for 5 years can remain in the UK until this threshold is met, in order to be eligible for settled status. Fourthly, even those citizens who arrived after the cut-off date will be allowed a grace period of up to 2 years, during which they would be allowed to regularise their status to stay in the UK. Fifthly, provisions for family members will also be made. These stipulate that family dependents who join an eligible EU citizen before Brexit can apply for settled status after 5 years.
Since the UK currently still remains in the EU, it is not necessary for EU nationals to take any action presently. However, when the UK does inevitably leave the EU, EU citizens would have to apply for the new settled status to protect their rights and residence in the UK. Whether you would like any assistance in applying now, or require advice as to whether you would be eligible under the government's new scheme, please do not hesitate to contact EA Law Solicitors by telephone or email and we will be happy to advise you on your situation immediately. Alternatively, if you would like to attend a webinar which will provide general guidance about the application process, completing the form and eligibility criteria, please register your interest by emailing firstname.lastname@example.org.