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Safeguarding the status of EU citizens: UK and EU negotiation update

The EU and UK have concluded their fifth round of negotiations. Progress has been made on coming to an agreement in relation to the rights of EU citizens living in the UK. Some points are still to be negotiated.
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Safeguarding the status of EU citizens: UK and EU negotiation update

Have your say on the future of the UK immigration system

As highlighted in our September Round-Up, we are participating in the call for evidence of the Migration Advisory Committee (MAC).
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Have your say on the future of the UK immigration system

Worker status

Following last years Employment Tribunal decision that Uber drivers were workers rather than self-employed, Uber's appeal hearing at the Employment Appeal Tribunal (EAT) concluded today.
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Worker status

Choice words

The case of Ms Carolina Gomes v. Henworth Limited t/a Winkworth Estate Agents & anor. serves as a useful reminder to be careful when selecting your choice of words when talking to employees.
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Choice words

Another triumph for cyclists

Following in the tracks of CitySprint, Deliveroo and Excel, Addison Lee is the latest company to wrongly classify its workforce.
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Another triumph for cyclists

MAC to examine the role EU nationals play in the UK

The UK government has tasked the Migration Advisory Committee (MAC) to examine the role EU nationals play in the UK economy and society. MAC is the government's independent advisers on migration.
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MAC to examine the role EU nationals play in the UK

The rights of EU citizens in the UK

The UK government’s policy paper setting out its offer to EU citizens and their families in the UK has been published. The offer is different depending on how long a person has been in the UK.

People who have been continuously living in the UK for five years will be able to apply to stay indefinitely by getting “settled status”. A settled status residence document will prove an individual’s permission to continue living and working in the UK. Those already with an EU permanent residence document will be required to apply. The application process should come online before the UK leaves the EU, and hopefully in 2018. The government has pledged to make the application process as streamlined and user-friendly as possible.

A “cut-off date” will be relevant for other people. The “cut-off date” will be the date after which EU citizens will no longer automatically be entitled to stay in the UK. The date is still to be negotiated, but may fall at any point between 29 March 2017, the date that Article 50 was triggered, and the date that the UK leaves the EU.

People who arrived in the UK before the cut-off date, but will not have been here for five years when the UK leaves the EU will be able to apply to stay temporarily until they have reached the five year threshold. They can then also apply for settled status as set out above.

People who arrive in the UK after the cut-off date will be able to apply for permission to remain after the UK leaves the EU, under the future immigration arrangements for EU citizens. We do not yet know what the arrangements will be. The government has said that there should be no expectation by this group of people that they will obtain settled status.

Please see our newsletter at the end of the month for more information on this development.

The rights of EU citizens in the UK

Status of EU citizens in the UK

The Home Office has sent a communication to interested parties following the government’s publication of a paper outlining its offer to EU citizens in the UK. The government has reiterated its position that no action need currently be taken. “The UK will remain a member of the EU until March 2019 and there will be no change to the rights and status of EU citizens living in the UK, nor UK nationals living in the EU, during this time. So, EU citizens do not need to apply for documentation confirming their status now.”

The government’s policy paper sets out that the government will be asking EU citizens to make an application to the Home Office for a residence document demonstrating their new settled status. It aims to make the process as “streamlined and user-friendly as possible for all individuals, including those who already hold a permanent residence document under current free movement rules”. It is expected the new application system will be up and running in 2018.

Status of EU citizens in the UK

EU family members’ rights

Family members ‎of EU nationals can join them in another member state if the EU national is exercising treaty rights. This may mean, for example, that they are studying or working.

The EU national may qualify for permanent residence after a qualifying period of time in the UK. Once an EU national gets permanent residence they may then apply for British citizenship. One would assume that this also means that they can enjoy family life in the UK.

Until now this has not been so, but the position may be about to change. Once an EU national becomes a British citizen, they are no longer entitled to rely on EU law and the rights derived from it for family members.‎ However, the Advocate-General has given an opinion in Lounes (C-165/16) that non-EU family members should be able to remain in the UK with their dual EU and British family member. The Advocate-General considered that the treatment of Mr Lounes’ wife (the dual national) should be no less favourable than before her naturalisation, or than would be granted to her if she were forced to move to another EU state to keep her family together.

While this is only the Advocate-General’s opinion, and is therefore only advisory and non-binding on the Court of Justice of the European Union, it is rare for the Advocate-General’s opinion to not be followed. The 15 judges at the court will consider the case in the summer.

This could have a far-reaching ‎impact on EU nationals who wish to obtain dual citizenship to be sure of their right to remain in the UK once the UK leaves the EU. Previously EU nationals have held off naturalising as British citizens for fear that their family members would not be able to remain in the UK. We will watch the progress of this case carefully and bring you an update as soon as there is more news.

EU family members’ rights

Adult dependent relatives – judicial review challenge

The Immigration Rules on visa applications ‎made by adult dependent relatives of UK citizens were changed in July 2012. An adult dependent relative may be a parent, grandparent or other adult dependent relative. There was concern at the time that the Home Office had tightened the Rules too much.

The Rules require that:

  • The applicant must because of age, illness or disability require long-term personal care to perform everyday tasks.
  • The applicant must be unable, even with the practical and financial help of the UK relative, to get the required care in the country where they are living. This must be because it is not available and there is no person in that country who can reasonably provide it, or it is not affordable.

Home Office statistics bore out that concern. Since the Home Office changed the Rules, the average number of successful applications each year may have reduced by at least 93 per cent.

BritCits, a campaign group, challenged the current requirements. It brought a judicial review application. It argued the Rules defeated the purpose of the law under which they were made. It also argued the Rules raised expectations without there being any real possibility of the Rules being met! Its third argument was that the Rules interfered with family life.

However, the Court of Appeal has dismissed the challenge brought by BritCits to the High Court’s dismissal of the judicial review application.

Applicants applying in this category will have to make applications in the knowledge that their success rate is exceptionally low, and, despite a challenge to the Immigration Rules, the Rules will remain as drafted. Applicants will continue to have to pull together as much evidence as they can to show they meet the requirements. Although the Rules require scrutiny of the available care in the adult dependent relative’s home country, the Home Office will consider whether the care is reasonable for the applicant and of the required level for the applicant. This can include the psychological and emotional needs of elderly parents, for example. Such an approach could mean the difference in the outcome of an application for an adult dependent relative.

If BritCits pursues its challenge to the Supreme Court we will of course keep you informed.

Adult dependent relatives – judicial review challenge