Brexit Visa Rush: Can the Home Office Cope?
Once Article 50 has been formally triggered, the UK Home Office could face 140 years' worth of applications for British Citizenship and Permanent Residence Card.
The processing of so many applications in a short time frame is regarded as a 'formidable task' and this is according to recent research done by Oxford University's Migration Observatory.
Why would a rush on Permanent Residence Cards and British Citizenship happen?
When asked about the rights of the 3.5 million EU nationals currently staying in the UK, it is widely anticipated and sought after by most MPs is that their residency status will be preserved in the event of Brexit and this is despite the speeches of 'let's see or shall we' by Theresa May, the Prime Minister. Two years after Article 50 has been triggered and once the UK has formally left the EU, then the EU nationals will need to provide proof of right to live and work in the UK which will be demanded by landlords, employers and public officials.
This would mean making available documentation that shows the right to be in the UK to all EU nationals.
Can the Home Office cope with such an influx of applications?
Every year about 25,500 applications for permanent residence from European citizens and their family members are being currently processed by the Home Office. If there was a rush to register 140 more applications in a short time frame then a significant backlog can be created and there are not enough staff or processing procedures available to cope with such a number.
The number of pages on the form needed to apply for a Permanent Residence Card is 85 pages long. A lot of applicants are normally rejected because they do not seek legal advice before proceeding with their application process and some individuals are unaware that before a Permanent Residence Card will be granted, it is mandatory to have 'comprehensive sickness insurance. A lot of difficulties may also occur for Self-employed EU nationals to prove how long they have been in the country.
It was stated to Financial Times by Barbara Roche, a former Labour immigration minister and the chair of the Migration Matters Trust that she knew that it would pose a "huge challenge" to the Home Office. She stated that "Resources are already overstretched, so this is going to be one of the biggest logistical obstacles that the department has ever faced".
The Home Office was also quoted by the Financial Times saying:
"The only circumstances in which that wouldn't be possible is of British citizens' rights in European member states were not protected in return. We are about to begin these negotiations and it would be wrong to set further unilateral positions in advance. But there is clearly no mandate for accepting the free movement of people as it has existed up until now. "
Reiss Edwards are professional immigration solicitors based in London and are recognised as experts on immigration law throughout the UK Economy. To make an appointment with our team in order to apply for a Permanent Residence Card or British Citizenship, please contact us on +44(0)20 3439 9270.
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