2019 General Election and its impact on EU citizens

It happened. Conservatives won the 2019 general elections sanctioning a landslide victory, their best result in the voting history since Margaret Thatcher. The Conservative party have secured 368 seats over 650, whilst the leader of the Labour Party Jeremy Corbyn obtained only 191, recording a worse than expected result.

Such a majority in Parliament would allow Conservatives to realise that much sought-after Brexit they have been chasing since the 2016 referendum.

If the Brexit agreement negotiated with Brussels is approved by Parliament, the UK will leave the EU on 31st of January 2020.

More importantly, Boris Johnson now has the green light in the negotiation to define the future relationship between UK and Europe: this may result in a “Hard Brexit”, in which the regulations regarding free movement of goods, people and the customs union, currently in vigour within EU Member States, may change significantly.

What does this mean for the 3.6 million EU citizens currently living in the UK?

Even if Brexit takes place in January, the transitional period of 11 months already agreed with the EU will be triggered.

Until then, the principles of free movement of goods, people, capital and services will remain in force, as if the UK was still a Member State of the EU. For this reason, nothing will happen to EU citizens currently residing in the UK in the imminent future.

Those who have been living in the UK for more than 5 years could use this transitional period to request the residence permit, “settled status”, which allows the EU citizen to stay in the UK indefinitely.

Those who, on the other hand, have been residing in the UK for less than 5 years will be able to request “pre-settled status”, which will be valid until the 5 years deadline, after which time, an application for settled status must be made.

The Deputy Minister for Security Brandon Lewis has declared that foreign citizens not registered within the transitional period will be subject to the UK immigration laws already in place: they will be considered “unwanted”, without the right to reside, prosecutable in the country and subject to enforcement measures.

After the passing of the transitional period, those who wish to emigrate to the UK will be subject to the domestic UK immigration rules. Stricter measures will need to be met, which include qualifying as skilled workers. Those who are not qualified may need an employment contract in place before coming to the UK and may only be allowed to stay for a rather limited period. Qualified workers, on the other hand, will be able to obtain a working visa, which will allow them to get resident permit during this time.

Rules will also change for those who wish to visit the UK, as prior permission to enter the country will need to be obtained.

How can we help?

At NA Law Solicitors, we are experienced and specialise in all immigration matters. If you are an EEA citizen and confused about Brexit, we can help you navigate your way to determine which settlement scheme is best.

Contact us today for a free case assessment.

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