Buried beneath Covid-19 headlines this week was a notable consequence related to 30 June. This was the deadline for the UK government to request an extension to the transition period between Britain and the European Union (EU). So, deal or no deal (and it is increasingly looking like the former), the UK will be entirely out of the EU on 31 December 2020. All existing trade deals we enjoy through our membership, freedom of movement, access to the European Court of Justice, not to mention millions of euros in EU funding will be consigned to the history books. Furthermore, the term ‘exercising your Treaty rights’ will no longer apply to UK citizens (unless they are dual citizens of another EU member state).
But what does it mean to exercise Treaty rights? This article will demystify the term.
But first, we need to look back to the formation of the European Union to understand how the rights evolved.
For as far back as the history books go (and beyond) Europe has been in an almost constant state of war. Until very recent times, the question asked by Kings (and the odd Queen) was not “should we go to war” but “who shall we invade now?”
The calamity of the Second World War resulted in some European countries uniting to prevent such a horrendous event occurring again. Recognising that the only way to achieve lasting peace was through economic dependence, the Council of Europe was founded in 1949. Ironically, Winston Churchill, former Prime Minister of the UK, advocated for the United States of Europe to be formed. Seventy years later, the horror of an ever-closer EU resulted in Britain voting to leave the bloc.
In 1950, Belgium, France, Germany, Italy, Luxembourg, and the Netherlands created the European Coal and Steel Community to bring about greater economic co-operation between the countries. Then on 25 March 1957, the Treaty of Rome was signed by Belgium, France, Italy, Luxembourg, the Netherlands, and West Germany. This was the founding document of the European Economic Community, the predecessor of the EU. It created a customs union between the states and the Common Agriculture Policy, a Common Transport Policy, and a European Social Fund, and established the European Commission.
The Treaty of Rome established the following four freedoms which form the bedrock of the EU:
Article three of the Treaty states: “The activities of the Community shall include.. . the elimination, as between the Member States, of customs duties and of quantitative restrictions on the import and export of goods.. .; the abolition, as between the Member States, of obstacles to freedom of movement for persons, services, and capital.”
Freedom of movement became a ‘right’ of EU citizens under the Treaty of Rome. Wolfgang Münchau an associate editor of the Financial Times, wrote in 2017:
“UK Prime Minister Theresa May’s infamous “citizens of nowhere” remark explained the Brexit mentality better than anything else because in the EU you are always a citizen of your home state and of the union itself, no matter where you live. This is the very essence of Europeanness. There is a political and economic logic behind the unity of the four freedoms. They constitute the ultimate trade-off in EU politics. The EU’s strength is to mediate between conflicting interests — large countries versus small, producers versus consumers, employers versus employees. While the roots of the old EEC were economic, as the name implied, it required a political and social component to keep it going. As a club of producers, the EU would not have survived for long. Freedom of movement provided workers who were mobile with the ability to raise their income in other parts of the union. It also acted in a small way as a macroeconomic stabiliser.”
Contrary to popular belief, freedom of movement does not allow EU citizens to enter a country and stay there unconditionally. Visa-free travel is permitted for three months; however, after this period, you must be exercising a Treaty right. These are:
EU citizens also have the right to be seeking work in another EU state.
The above are pre-existing rights, not privileges. Neither a passport nor an EU residency document, such as an EU Residence Permit, itself confers any rights; they merely evidence that the rights are held.
As mentioned at the beginning of this article, the UK’s transition period with the EU will be over at the end of this year. EU nationals who are currently living and working in the UK and want to remain must apply for Settled or Pre-Settled Status. For many, this will be the first time they have ever had to register the fact they are living in the UK. This is because, although prior to Brexit, an EU national could have applied for an EU Residence Permit, there was no legal requirement to do so. Furthermore, it is worth repeating that such a permit only acknowledged existing Treaty rights; it did not confer the rights themselves.
Settled and Pre-Settled Status is different. Because EU Treaty rights will no longer apply in the UK when it becomes a non-EU nation, those who have not applied for and been granted Settled or Pre-Settled Status have no legal right to reside in the country. It makes no difference if you have been here five years or fifty – if you have not applied for Settled or Pre-Settled Status before the deadline expires (30 June 2021), you can be deported to your home country. Unlike EU Permanent Residence, Settled and Pre-Settled Status does confer rights on the holder – the right to live and work in the UK free from visa restrictions – the rights that will end on 30 June 2021 for those in the UK and 31 December 2020 for EU citizens outside the country.
Regardless of how long you have been exercising your EU Treaty rights in the UK, obtaining Settled or Pre-Settled Status should now be top of your ‘to-do’ list. If you have any concerns about making your application, talk to experienced immigration solicitors.
It's a shame that you dont have an 'Excellent' star rating on here, as my experience with Reiss Edwards is nothing short of an excellent rating. They handled my application for an Indefinite Leave to remain in April 2014 and did my husband's one very recently including my daughter. Every time i have approached them, they have continued to treat me with courtesy, respect and patience. Amar was indeed a very thorough and professional gentleman. He is very knowledgeable, corporative and engaging. He responded to my emails, calls and enquiries promptly. He was always reassuring. I could not have asked for a better Immigration service. I would recommend them over and over again for anyone looking for an immigration advice. They gave me a free immigration advice when i called them, and the quality of the advice was something other charge thousands for. If you need a particular, name, Amar would be it. He exemplifies, for me, the true, professional gentleman. He is a valuable asset to Reiss Edwards.
I am glad that i instructed Reiss Edwards on my visa matter. It started with a 20 minutes free immigration advice. I met with Amar to discuss my ILR refusal. He gave me a great deal of quality advice and decided to take on my messy case. I had doubts on the merits of my case by he was relatively convinced he could win it. That made me quite secure. To be honest, things did not start as quick as I would have wanted, but they kept on communicating the process and state of things to me.A big thank you to Verusha and Foram. They were also very helpful. Brilliant and informative. Their fee was fair and reasonable, especially if you compare them to other law firms and immigration law firms in London; some of whom even told me that i would not be able to get an indefinte leave to remain in this country. The process was long but was worth it. In the end, a big thank you to Reiss Edwards.
Investing over 2 million pounds is defintely not a routine decision. We had to make sure that the Tier 1 investor immigration lawyers that we'd be picking has to be one of the best within the Tier 1 investor category. We contacted Reiss Edwards and they were able to get us not only the Tier 1 investor visa but also suggested profitable investment portfolios in addition to what we already had in mind.
TI have just had British Citizenship application approved. Prior to making the application, i was not sure which law firm i should hire to facilitate the paperwork. After a few hours of research, i decided to go with Reiss Edwards and i must confess that i wasnt disappointed. The immigration lawyers at Reiss Edwards handled my case well and they really knew what they were doing. They were fully aware of what documents I needed and it was easy for them to tell if my case was going to be easy or not. At the end of the day, I have not received my British citizenship within 3 months. If anyone is looking for a good immigration lawyer to handle thier case, contact Reiss Edwards.
My wife's spouse visa extension application was refused by the Home Office and they gave her 14 days to leave the country. We contacted Reiss Edwards and they said "OK don't worry we will sort this out". They put together the list of documents for me to obtain and they prepared a bundle which was as thick as the printer it came out from.We followed everything they asked us to do and in the end we won our appeal and got our spouse visa. We can't recommend them enough and we have promised ourselves never to make any more UK visa applications without them.
The team of lawyers at Reiss Edwards are very professional and friendly people. Their experience in and around UK immigration law is quite extensive; be sure that you application is in safe and competent hands. My immigration matter was an indefinite leave to remain application based on Tier 1 on a self-employment basis. The immigration lawyers at Reiss Edwards made sure that the application was perfect and ready to be accepted. I got a positive decision and I recommend them highly for anyone who needs a UK immigration help.
I contacted Reiss Edwards to help me with my wife's UK settlement visa. They acted with utmost professionalism throughout the entire application. I spoke with Joe Dinh, he is an immigration solicitor and he is one of the best solicitors out there. He ensured that there was little to no room for error. At some point I thought he was over cautious. He remained calmed and continued to assure us on our immigration matter. Most people in his position would have panicked but he was calmed and continued to assure us. We received out positive outcome very quickly.
I have been using Reiss Edwards for three years now for my family's immigration application. Both for my initial application and extension. They are really affordable. The team of solicitors at this firm are probably one of the most efficient and economical in terms of cost. They offered free advice over the phone and spent good time with us before inviting us for consultation.
Reiss Edwards is a top notch immigration service company. The way they handled our documentation and also the list of documents they sent was efficient and top quality. They helped us professionally throughout the process. We are very happy with the immigration advice we received from the team. We highly recommend them.
I used Reiss Edwards immigration lawyers to assist with my immigration matter and that of my family. It was an EX1 application. They dealt with the matter properly and even when complications were coming up from the Home Office, they helped resolve the issue properly. They are very professional and are very popular in London. I am happy to have worked with them.
This is the only firm that i spoke with that didn't ask for money before listening to me, will be using them again.
I used Reiss Edwards for my Tier 2 visa application and it was successful. The team was ever present and happy to answer my question. The caseworker that dealing with my case went on holiday yet by case did not suffer one bit. Another lawyer stepped and took over the case without any hassle.
My Tier 1 Investor Visa was dealt with quickly and without issue. Would recommend Reiss Edwards as an Immigration law firm in London. Thank you to the team.
530 ReviewsREAD ALL REVIEWS