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Comprehensive Sickness Insurance as a condition for Permanent Residency in the UK

An European national will automatically qualify for UK Permanent Residence (PR) if they have lived in the UK as a qualified person for a consecutive period of 5 years. A qualified person means that they are either working, self-sufficient, self-employed, or studying. Recently, we have seen a sharp rise in the number of of Permanent residence applications submitted to the Home Office. The rise in the number of PR applications reflects the insecurity of EU citizens as to what their future would be after the Brexit negotiations. Of the 137,000 PR applications that were made last year, one-fourth of those applications were disregarded based on technicalities, according to The Independent. One of the technicalities considered in the application process is that EU students are supposed to have a Comprehensive Sickness Insurance (CSI).

The European Economic Area (EEA) regulation of 2006 requires that EEA students have a Comprehensive Sickness Insurance (CSI). This regulation was then revised on the 6th of April 2015. In the revised regulation, family members of the EEA students living with them also need to hold CSI. Since EEA citizens and their family members are allowed to use the NHS, some people are uninformed that they still need to have a CSI. But according to the Home Office the NHS is not considered as CSI.

It is important to note that the categories of people that qualify for BPR cards . They include workers, self-employed persons, self-sufficient persons with CSI and students with CSI. Hence, if a EU person has been in the UK for the last seven years with the first three years as a student (without Comprehensive Sickness Insurance) and wants to apply for a BPR card, there is a possibility that their applications may be disregarded. This is because, the person may be considered as staying in the UK illegitimately. Therefore, the person has to wait for another year before reapplying for the BPR card.

Also, there are a lot of self-sufficient EU citizens presently residing in the UK. They may be married to a British Citizen and not working. Unless they had already gotten their BPR through five years of continuous work or self-employment (with evidence), they would need to show that they have CSI to show they have the current right of residence in the UK.

Although the regulation was amended on 6th April 2015, it was implemented on 22nd June 2015. This means that for any applications after 22nd June, the customer must provide evidence of CSI for both themselves and the family member living with them. Similarly, people who applied for residence cards before 22nd June only have to provide CSI for themselves. For instance, if a family member of an EEA student applies for BPR on 16th May 2015, all they need to prove is that their sponsor is a student possessing a CSI. However, for a person who applied on the 23rd June 2015, they would need to provide similar documents but more importantly, provide their own proof of CSI.

While a spokesman for the Home office said that EEA citizens will not be removed from the UK or denied entry merely because they do not have a CSI, it is important for those that would like to have a BPR to obtain one and also consult an experienced immigration solicitor for advice.

Reiss Edwards have a team of London's leading immigration lawyers. If you need to consult on issues relating to your Permanent residence please call us on 02037442797 or drop us an email in info@reissedwards.com

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