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UK Government proposals for EU citizens in the UK will anger many

Nick Rollason, immigration law partner at Kingsley Napley, comments on the UK Government paper titled Safeguarding the position of EU citizens in the UK and UK nationals in the EU…

The UK government wants EU nationals who have already applied for Permanent Residence to apply for the UK equivalent status of Indefinite Leave to Remain. These EU nationals, and their family members, will be particularly angered by these proposals – in many cases they have already been through a complex process, gathered and submitted numerous documents and some have paid lawyers to advise and help them where their situations are complicated. To have to re-apply for an almost identical status, and pay more application fees, will be extremely frustrating.
Since the referendum, over 100,000 EU nationals and their family members have applied for, and obtained, EU Permanent Residence status. Making them re-apply is a waste, not only of their time and money, but also of UK public funds and of Home Office resources.
The government wants to bring as many EU nationals as possible into a UK only immigration status. This appears to be a move by the government to try and put pressure on the EU to abandon its plans to regulate the status of EU nationals post–Brexit, and to remove those individuals from the jurisdiction of the EU court. The more EU nationals apply for this UK immigration status, the stronger the UK’s argument will be that only the UK should regulate their status.
The government document falls well short of providing clarity on the position of those EU citizens who arrive after the as yet unspecified date. The document says that whether they will be able to stay in the longer term depends on the rules in place at the time they apply. Does this mean they could be subject to the very strict rules on work sponsorship and would effectively have to re-apply for their own jobs to meet the current requirements?  Would those who have set up businesses here, and retired here, need to show minimum investment thresholds, as non-EU nationals have to do now. This uncertainty will not make the UK an attractive proposition for the highly-skilled, entrepreneurial or wealthy EU citizens the UK should be attracting.

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