Following the recent Brexit vote, Ronald Fletcher Baker LLP considers the British Nationality (General) (Amendment No.3) Regulations 2015, and the impact this will have on individuals relying on the automatic EU right of Permanent Residence after five years. Under these Regulations an individual is now required to show they have been issued a Residence Permit or Permanent Residence before making the application for naturalisation. We outline the key facts of these Regulations and the benefits of obtaining an EU Permanent Residence Card.
The British Nationality (General) (Amendment No.3) Regulations 2015, which came into force on the 12th November 2015, requires individuals relying on the automatic EU right of Permanent Residence after five years to show they have been issued with a Residence Permit or Permanent Residence before making the application for naturalisation.
This will represent a significant change to the way applications for permanent resident status from EEA nationals is dealt with. Previously a residence permit was mainly acquired by both EEA and non-EEA national family members [who derived his / her residential rights from an EEA national] and following 5 years applied for permanent residence or following settlement applied for British Citizenship.
These new rules make it imperative that anyone seeking permanent residence as an EEA citizen/non-EEA family member seek legal advice.
EU National Permanent Residence Application
The current Permanent Residence application fee is £65 per person. The Home Office must make a decision on your case within six months. If it fails to do so, you are entitled to bring a claim for compensation.
There is no English language proficiency or Life in the UK test required to obtain an EU Permanent Residence Card.
The benefits of obtaining an EU Permanent Residence Card
An EU Permanent Residence Card proves your right to employers, landlords and government officials that you have obtained permanent residence status in the UK.
To assist you in understanding the process of obtaining an EU Permanent Residence Card, we have outlined some key facts and benefits of obtaining a Permanent Residence Card below.
- Proof of residency status - Before an EU national becomes a permanent resident in the UK s/he must be a qualified person, i.e. an employee, self-employed, student, retired, or self-sufficient for at least five years. There are also potential difficulties with obtaining public funds (especially under the current government policy) before the five-year period is up. By acquiring a Permanent Residence Card, you can be more relaxed in sense of exercising Treaty rights and may access public funds should you need a help;
- EU (PR) and British citizenship – From November 2015, EU nationals wishing to apply for British Citizenship must have a Permanent Residence Card and submit it with their application.
- Family members, extended family members, same-sex and unmarried partners of an EU national - If you have acquired a Permanent Residence Card it is easier to show officials that you are a ‘settled person’ for the purposes of bringing non-EU family members and unmarried or same-sex partners to live with you in the UK;
- Removal and Deportation - In removal and deportation cases, the decision maker will take into account whether a person has acquired permanent residence in the UK. The Home Office can only deport you on serious grounds of public policy or public security if you hold permanent residence status.
- Protection and Immigration Status - and finally as the people of the United Kingdom have voted to leave the European Union, if you have obtained a document certifying your right to permanent residence in the UK, you may be better protected to remain in the UK indefinitely. The changes of immigration policy and legislation if the UK government legally and formally exits the EU are still unknown. However, as an EU national with a Permanent Resident Card, you will have peace of mind that you won’t need to evidence your right to permanent residence should the UK exit the EU and you can apply for British citizenship after 12 months.
If you would like to discuss your eligibility for an EEA Permanent Residence Card or if you require legal assistance in connection with an EEA Permanent Residence Card application or appeal, please contact our immigration team on 0207 467 5760.