Europe Assailed by Risk after Brexit and Trump
2016 witnessed seismic political shifts; it was a year logic lost the war over emotions. Brexit and Trump were arguably the biggest spectacles in a year that birthed events that will shape the next phase of politics, diplomacy and globalisation. These political upheavals have soared business risks and heralded a new phase of uncertainty to global economies. The Euro zone is not insulated from the global economic risks that are now shaking up the world, in fact, it is directly affected by it. The growing alt right movement have now directly threatened the very existence of the Eurozone, with many campaigners as well as critics bringing to the fore the failings of the Eurozone as well as globalisation. After Brexit and the election of Donald Trump, the European Commission have warned of heightened risks to the euro area. In a set of economic forecast after Trump, Brexit and the UK triggering article 50 sooner rather than later, the European Commission admitted that "recovery is assailed by risks and that gross domestic product in the 19-nation region will grow 1.6 percent this year, slower than the 1.7 percent expansion last year. Economists within the EU have warned of troubled times ahead as President Trump have taken a more protectionist stand. This is in contrast to the economic philosophy upon which the EU thrives, free open trade. The iterative interactions of these factors have now caused countries to review their immigration policies. The UK in the light of Brexit is by no means exempt. It is therefore pertinent that EU migrants who currently reside in the UK take major steps in securing their residence. The British Prime Minister, Theresa May has not even made matters easier as she has refused to assure EU citizens in the UK of residence after article 50 and Brexit.
Points of action
- If you have come to the UK as an EU National and you have stayed more than 3 months, you may consider applying for a registration certificate. This is not compulsory for residence and you can actually do without it. However, it is a documentary proof that you are exercising your treaty rights in the UK. In a climate of continuous uncertainty, you will be doing no harm by getting documentary evidence(s).
- Further, changes to immigration rules and requirements now expand pass employers. Landlords, banks and others are now expected to undertake immigration checks. However, banks and landlords are often not adept at distinguishing between those under the British Immigration Rules where you must hold Leave to Enter/Remain and European Regulations applications where often there is no such obligation. Therefore, despite not necessarily being required to possess a document to confirm your residence rights in the UK, it may assist on a day to day basis to hold one.
- If you are in or coming to the UK with your family members who are not EEA Nationals, it is advisable to apply for an EEA family permit before travelling. This is granted for a period of 6 months, after which they will have to apply for a residence card.
- A Residence card is necessary for family members of EEA Nationals who have resided in the UK for more than 6 months where the EEA national is exercising treaty rights. Note that treaty rights means an EEA national is working, studying or is self-employed in the UK, a job-seeker (you will need to show that you were genuinely seeking work and that you had a realistic chance of finding work), student or self-sufficient. The last two categories will require you and any family members will need to have comprehensive sickness/health insurance. The Residence card is issued for 5 years.
- If you have resided in the UK as an EU National, for more than 5 years (exercising your treaty rights), you automatically acquire permanent residence. Note that this may change after the UK fully exits the EU. EU nationals who have automatically acquired permanent residence may then apply for a Certificate certifying permanent residence.
- A year after permanent residence, you qualify to apply for a British passport (ceteris paribus). It is important that in this Brexit era, if you qualify for a British passport, you should apply for it.
What if I have stayed in the UK for more than 6 years and I have not applied for permanent residence You will have to apply for permanent residence after which you may be eligible to apply to naturalise as a British national immediately thereafter.
Can I make these applications myself? Of course you can make the applications yourself. However, given the nature of the applications form and the documents the Home Office expect to see as part of any application, we recommend you use immigration solicitors who is very experienced in European applications
The team at Reiss Edwards consists of some of London's leading immigration lawyers. If you require expert legal advice on obtaining a making an EEA application, please call us on 020 3744 2797.
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