Middle of the night. A phone rings. One of my friends can’t wait till the morning and wants to share with me what she’s just read on the Internet. I still haven’t cooled down after hearing the announcement of the new Prime Minister in Great Britain when my friend breaks the news as now supposedly Poles don’t have to worry about anything in the UK.
I lived in this country long enough not to believe that the day they choose Cameron’s successor, a person who puts an emphasis on reducing the number of immigrants in the UK, Home Office publishes a statements that says that ‘nothing’s happened’ and no-one is going to chase us away after Brexit. Still being half-asleep, I check their website and… I don’t need coffee anymore to wake myself up.
At a glance it seems that the British government reassures the EU immigrants about their status after Brexit. But does it really? Have a look at the text quoted below. The entire statement you can find here.
There has been no change to the rights and status of EU nationals in the UK, and UK nationals in the EU, as a result of the referendum.
The decision about when to trigger Article 50 and start the formal process of leaving the EU will be for the new Prime Minister. The UK remains a member of the EU throughout this process, and until Article 50 negotiations have concluded.
Status quo, as officially Great Britain has not left the European Union yet, and the sole referendum doesn’t introduce any automatic changes and the same laws and policies apply as before.
When we do leave the EU, we fully expect that the legal status of EU nationals living in the UK, and that of UK nationals in EU member states, will be properly protected.
The government recognises and values the important contribution made by EU and other non-UK citizens who work, study and live in the UK.
Well, ‘the legal status properly protected’ – so in the future it may go different ways and everything depends on their negotiations.
That was the introduction, which doesn’t really bring anything new. Then, what follows is questions and answers:
I have lived in the UK for more than 5 years. What does the vote to leave the EU mean for me?
- EU nationals who have lived continuously and lawfully in the UK for at least 5 years automatically have a permanent right to reside. This means that they have a right to live in the UK permanently, in accordance with EU law. There is no requirement to register for documentation to confirm this status.
- EU nationals who have lived continuously and lawfully in the UK for at least 6 years are eligible to apply for British citizenship if they would like to do so. The eligibility requirements can be found here.
What if I have lived in the UK for less than 5 years?
- EU nationals continue to have a right to reside in the UK in accordance with EU law. EU nationals do not need to register for any documentation in order to enjoy their free movement rights and responsibilities. For those that decide to apply for a registration certificate, there has been no change to government policy or processes. Applications will continue to be processed as usual.
As of today, when the European Union regulations are still in place, there’s no need to have any documents confirming the resident status and the right to work. The same law applies not only in Great Britain, but in other EU countries. Will it still apply after the UK exits the Union? They don’t say…
(In the original text there’s information about non-EU countries, but there’s no point quoting it here.)
At the end of the statement, there’re a few words to reassure the nations:
Does the government plan to remove EU nationals from the UK?
There has been no change to the right of EU nationals to reside in the UK and therefore no change to the circumstances in which someone could be removed from the UK.
As was the case before the referendum, EU nationals can only be removed from the UK if they are considered to pose a genuine, present and sufficiently serious threat to the public, if they are not lawfully resident or are abusing their free movement rights.
To submit or not to submit the EEA(PR) form? That is the question… 🙂