Policy Paper | Post-Brexit Rights of EU Citizens in the UK
Safeguarding the Rights of EU Citizens: Avoiding a Cliff-Edge
Safeguarding the Position of EU Citizens Living in the UK and UK Nationals Living in the EU | British Government Policy Paper June 26, 2017, Paragraphs 23-26 of 59
23) EU citizens (and their families) will continue to enjoy the right to free movement until the UK’s departure. As described above, all EU citizens (and their families) in the UK at this point will be entitled to apply for permission to stay after our departure. However, it will be impractical to issue a very high volume of residence documents immediately when the UK leaves. We need to avoid a legal gap between the end of free movement rights and the point at which individuals apply for and obtain UK immigration status. The Government will bridge this gap so that EU citizens (and their families) already living in the UK will be able to continue their residence despite not yet having obtained their longer-term permission to stay, and accompanying residence documents, from the Home Office.
24) To achieve this, the Home Office will provide a period of blanket residence permission, to start immediately upon the UK’s exit from the EU. This will be a generic ‘umbrella’ of temporary leave applying to all existing lawful EU residents (and their families), to give them a grace period between the moment that free movement ends and the time they obtain their residence document – allowing them to remain lawfully in the UK, and continue to undertake their lawful business during that interim period.
25) The blanket permission period will provide EU citizens (and their families) in the UK with sufficient time to make an application to the Home Office, and to receive their individual immigration status in the form of a residence document. For those EU citizens (and their families) lawfully resident here prior to the UK’s departure, they will be able to continue to work or study here under the blanket permission period – they will not be required to leave the UK at the point the UK leaves. Once a residence document has been obtained, the blanket permission for that individual will automatically expire and be superseded by the individual residence permission.
26) The grace period of blanket permission will last from exit day for a fixed period of time, which we will specify in due course but which we expect to be up to two years. Those who wish to remain in the UK beyond this point will have to apply to the Home Office for their individual permission before the period of blanket permission expires. If they do not do so, and they are not covered by any exemptions the Government puts in place and have no other basis to remain in the UK, they will no longer have permission to remain in the UK.
Example case study: EU citizen with five years’ residence before the UK’s withdrawal from the EU
Andriana is a Greek national who will have been resident in the UK for ten years on 1 April 2019.
Andriana will continue to have the right to exercise her free movement rights to live and work in the UK up to the point that the UK leaves the EU. As Andriana has been living continuously in the UK for over five years (without an absence of more than two years after that five years), she also immediately qualifies for settled status.
This means she can apply for settled status under the new UK scheme once it is open. Once she has received her status and document she does not need to do anything further after the UK leaves the EU. Andriana will have successfully secured her immigration status in UK law.
Andriana does not need to apply immediately for settled status. She can remain in the UK after exit and continue her activities, during the grace period of blanket permission. However, she must apply to the Home Office for permission to stay before this grace period expires if she intends to carry on living in the UK afterwards.
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