This week the Government unveiled its plans for the residency rights of EU citizens post-Brexit, calling for the creation of a new ‘settled status’.
This status would be offered to EU citizens once they have lived in the UK legally and continuously for five years, but Jennifer Maxwell-Harris, a partner at leading London law firm Joelson has questioned the Government’s logic.
Under current arrangements EU citizens who have lived in the UK for five years, whilst exercising their treaty rights, are granted permanent resident status.
A document to verify permanent residence is only needed if the EU citizen wants to apply for British citizenship or sponsor a partner’s visa application.
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However, under the new system those with this established status will need to reapply for ‘settled status’ in order to enjoy public services, receive benefits and apply for full British citizenship.
Responding to the Government’s plans, Jennifer said: “The 150,000 or more EU citizens currently in the UK who have applied for permanent residency in recent years ought simply to be processed and issued with the permanent residence document that is available now.
“It’s not clear why a new regime or database would be needed, or why current applicants would need to reapply.
“The current permanent residency document is open to EEA nationals, a wider category than EU citizens, so what is the Government’s intention for EEA nationals? Do we then end up with an even more complicated system?”
She added; “The proposed requirement for a minimum income of £18,600 for a partner to come to the UK would be a big deterrent, especially for young people who form an essential part of the workforce, particularly in London and in sectors such as retail and hospitality which rely on large numbers of young people and which tend to pay close to the national minimum wage.”
Jennifer and the team at Joelson have been assisting a number of clients in recent months to obtain their permanent resident status and have said it is committed and standing by to help those who will now need to apply for ‘settled status’.