Government publishes details on settled status for EU citizens

The government has put a little flesh on its promise that EU citizens living in the UK will be able to apply for settled status in a way that is “new”, “streamlined” and “low cost”. A “technical note” – not all that technical, and only four and a half pages long – published this afternoon pulls together some already-announced proposals on how the application system will work, and in some areas adds to them. An accompanying press release confirms that the note has been “sent to the European Commission as part of negotiations” Refreshingly, the paper admits that the Home Office will not be up to the job if things…

7th November 2017 By Conor James McKinney

Spoons backs citizens’ rights

It’s beer o’clock, and if you’re in a JD Wetherspoon establishment this evening you may see a beer mat with this intoxicating sentiment: The UK should unilaterally and immediately grant full rights of citizenship to legal EU immigrants. The company says that it has distributed 500,000 beer mats containing its “Wetherspoon manifesto” for Brexit. There are enough countervailing considerations to pull us up short of endorsing ‘Spoons as Free Movement’s boozer of choice. It seems to be trying to hedge its bets with that “legal” caveat. The rest of the manifesto is, according to Channel 4’s Fact Check service, pretty contentious. And of course Wetherspoon founder Tim Martin has been a…

3rd November 2017 By Conor James McKinney

Could Catalan separatists qualify for refugee status in the UK?

Carles Puigdemont, erstwhile President de la Generalitat de Catalunya, fled Spain to Belgium this week following his parliament’s unilateral declaration of independence for Catalonia. Several of his ministers followed him into exile. A European Arrest Warrant will soon be issued seeking their extradition back to Spain to face criminal charges. Meanwhile, eight other Catalan ministers who stood their ground were detained yesterday by Spain’s high court and face charges of rebellion, sedition and misuse of public funds for their roles in the independence referendum, which was illegal under Spanish law. Other senior Catalan politicians face similar charges but their cases are complicated by parliamentary immunity. Puigdemont and his ministers breached Spanish…

3rd November 2017 By Colin Yeo

Brexit increasing risk of modern slavery, report reveals

In a report published today a group of experts on modern slavery reveal that uncertainty, confusion and threats to EU migrants as a result of Brexit is making it more likely that EU workers will face labour exploitation in the UK. This is a very good, thoughtful report. I’m a bit late to it; the research actually came out in August. The report articulates one of my concerns with ending free movement of workers. Exploitation of EU workers already increasing. Will be far, far worse after Brexit. https://t.co/JnrGI8OyPa — Colin Yeo (@ColinYeo1) October 24, 2017 There is lots of lobbying for “sector based schemes” for agriculture, construction, hospitality, food processing…

26th October 2017 By Colin Yeo

MPs launch inquiry into Home Office delivery of Brexit, submissions sought

Following on from the session last week in which I and others were called to give evidence to the Home Affairs Committee, a formal inquiry into the Home Office delivery of Brexit has now been launched. Written submissions are invited by the committee and further oral evidence will be heard. The terms of reference include but are not limited to: Does the Home Office have the capacity to register EU nationals already in the UK? What form should that process take and what risks need to be anticipated? What challenges does Brexit present for the Home Office’s effective management of immigration at the border and how might the Home Office…

19th October 2017 By Colin Yeo

Theresa May’s open letter: what she said and what she meant

As I travel to Brussels today, I know that many people will be looking to us – the leaders of the 28 nations in the European Union – to demonstrate we are putting people first. I have a firm grasp of the technical detail. I have been clear throughout this process that citizens’ rights are my first priority. And I know my fellow leaders have the same objective: to safeguard the rights of EU nationals living in the UK and UK nationals living in the EU. I do not want to guarantee them in full, but do not wish that fact to be apparent. I want to give reassurance that this issue…

19th October 2017 By Conor James McKinney

FOI response: waiting times for permanent residence certificates triple

Eight months and a warning from the Information Commissioner later, the Home Office has finally replied to my Freedom of Information request on waiting times for EU residence documents. The figures only go to the end of 2016 and it seems likely that waiting times have increased yet further since then. The number of applications for documents is soaring and the capacity of the Home Office to cope is highly questionable. The figures show that the average wait for all such documents has risen considerably since 2015, with an EEA permanent residence certificate taking 116 days to arrive by the end of last year – almost triple the time it…

18th October 2017 By Colin Yeo

Home Office in breach of law over permanent residence waiting times

The Home Office has broken the law by failing to publish the waiting times faced by EU citizens trying to get residence documents. The Information Commissioner ruled that Amber Rudd’s department is in breach of the Freedom of Information Act, having sat on the request for seven months and counting. Free Movement’s founder and editor, Colin Yeo, wrote to the Home Office on 23 February asking for data showing average waiting times for the cards and certificates that prove an EU citizen’s right to live in the UK. By 30 March, officials at Marsham Street had acknowledged that the request would not be answered within the 20 working days demanded…

2nd October 2017 By Conor James McKinney

Citizens’ rights: update after fourth round of Brexit negotiations

The fourth round of Brexit negotiations are over, with some signs of progress on the future status of EU citizens living in the UK. At the end of August, the EU-UK joint comparison of negotiating positions on citizens’ rights showed some 30 issues highlighted in red, indicating no agreement. This has been cut by about half in the latest document, showing the position at the end of September. Enforcement: “direct effect” conceded, CJEU jurisdiction not David Davis uses the words May did not over implementing withdrawal agreement in domestic law: "Direct effect." — Matthew Holehouse (@mattholehouse) September 28, 2017 Both the Brexit Secretary, for the UK, and the European Commission chief…

28th September 2017 By Conor James McKinney

What does Theresa May’s Florence speech mean for EU citizens?

Theresa May exercised her free movement rights with a trip to Florence on Friday to deliver a much-anticipated speech on Brexit. Conciliatory in tone and significant on the question of the ‘divorce bill’, the Prime Minister’s comments also touched on the rights of EU citizens in the UK, and on the future of free movement after Brexit. On the former, warm words were not accompanied by the practical proposals demanded by EU leaders. On the latter, a Brexit “implementation period” of around two years holds out the prospect of continued free movement until 2021, but questions remain about the operation of EU law during that period. Citizens’ rights: still no role…

26th September 2017 By Conor James McKinney

Leaked immigration document suggests huge rise in European criminal deportation after Brexit

The recently leaked government immigration proposals indicate that European nationals who commit crime in the UK will be subject to the same automatic deportation rules as non-European nationals after Brexit. The UK Borders Act 2007 imposes a legal duty on the Home Office to bring deportation proceedings against any foreign national convicted of a crime and sentenced to 12 months or more in prison. These are referred to as “automatic deportation”: see section 32 of the UK Borders Act 2007. There is currently an exception for those resident under EU law (section 33(4)) but this will end with Brexit when EU law ceases to apply. 12 month sentences are imposed…

13th September 2017 By Nick Nason

Leaked immigration plans suggest Thelma & Louise Brexit for UK

Forget “hard Brexit” and “soft Brexit”. The leaked proposals for a post-Brexit immigration system suggest the pedal is already to the metal for full Thelma & Louise Brexit. The Brexit to-do list is the length of a constantly unravelling ball of string. One of the many items on that list is deciding what the post-Brexit immigration system will look like. Yesterday we caught a glimpse of recent thinking at one of the key departments responsible, the Home Office. Essentially, those responsible for the 82 page proposal, dated August 2017, want to sever ties between the UK and EU. There are concessions in the paper. It is accepted that different rules…

6th September 2017 By Colin Yeo

MAC to examine the role EU nationals play in the UK economy and society

Yesterday, 27 July 2017, the Home Secretary commissioned the Migration Advisory Committee to examine the role EU nationals play in the UK economy and society. Amber Rudd has commissioned the Migration Advisory Committee (MAC) to examine the British labour market, the overall role of migration in the wider economy and how the UK’s immigration system should be aligned with a modern industrial strategy. The commission represents an extremely important piece of work, with free movement ending when we exit the EU. Plans for the UK’s future immigration system are being developed which will enable the government to control the flow of migration from Europe. The Home Office will ask the MAC to focus…

28th July 2017 By Nath Gbikpi

Home Office inspectors release series of reports: highlights for lawyers

For some reason the Home Office has just released a swathe of inspection reports into a wide range of Home Office operations. In practical terms, this makes it impossible for the press to pick out more than one or two stories from the reports and it therefore very effectively reduces scrutiny. Usually I have nothing better to do than sit and read these reports when they are hot off the press (!) but 10 in two days seems excessive even to me I cannot stir myself to read all of them. It is almost as if there is something to hide somewhere in there. Nevertheless, I am going to confine…

14th July 2017 By Colin Yeo

Analysis: what is the UK proposing for EU citizens in the UK and British citizens in the EU?

On 26 June 2017, over a year after the Brexit referendum result, the government finally published its proposals to “safeguard the position of EU citizens living in the UK and UK nationals living in the EU”. Here we take a look at the details of the proposals. It is important to remember that at the moment these are just proposals by the UK. They have been tabled as part of a negotiation process. The UK proposals may change, either becoming more generous as part of the negotiation or being withdrawn partially or in full if the negotiations fail. The EU has already made public its own comprehensive proposals, which are…

27th June 2017 By Colin Yeo

What does the Queen’s Speech say (and not say) about immigration and EU citizens?

The Queen’s Speech was today. This sets out the legislative agenda for the new Government and lists expected new Acts of Parliament the Government hopes to pass in the coming year. There are reports that this Queen’s Speech may be intended to cover a two year period, but with the likelihood of an early election it may end up being very short indeed. Either way, the agenda is dominated by Brexit to the exclusion of almost everything else. This will be the story of our country for the next decade or so: trying to sort out Brexit to the exclusion of all else. A new Immigration Bill is proposed. However,…

21st June 2017 By Colin Yeo

Alternative options for EU partners: making an application under Appendix FM

Now that the election manifestos have been officially published we have an indication what Labour and Conservative have planned for EU nationals living in Britain. While the Labour manifesto confirmed a pledge to immediately guarantee existing rights for all EU nationals living in Britain the polls continue to point to a Conservative win, with a manifesto that does not guarantee existing rights but seeks to ‘secure entitlements’. This wording suggests those who have yet to establish a “right of residence” will not be covered by the Conservative pledge. In EU law, any EU national has the right of admission to another Member State and can physically remain in that Member…

31st May 2017 By Chris Desira

Why the UK and EU cannot easily agree on EU citizens’ rights: UK vs EU law

Theresa May refused to guarantee the rights of EU citizens living in the UK but did at least assure them that their situation would be a early negotiating priority. That perhaps was not terribly reassuring given that Theresa May also suggested that everyone should prepare for the UK to crash out of the EU with no deal at all and then called an election which has inevitably delayed the negotiations. Already it is reported that the talks on the rights of EU citizens seem to have hit a significant stumbling block. This is by no means insoluable and negotiations are by their very nature bound to include differences of approach which need…

3rd May 2017 By Colin Yeo

New EEA(PR) application form guidance published

Most Home Office application forms are accompanied with guidance explaining how to make a valid application, and the EEA(PR) application form is no different. While the EEA(PR) form was last updated in March 2016 the guidance accompanying that form was last updated in December 2015 and so an update has been well overdue. The Home Office have finally got around to that with new guidance issued this month. Surprisingly for the Home Office, the new guidance provides some helpful pointers and also eases the evidential burden for some requirements, bringing it closer to, but not quite in accordance with, EU law. Unsurprisingly for the Home Office, the guidance has more than doubled…

27th April 2017 By Chris Desira

Home Office suggests EU nationals sign up for email alerts not apply for residence documents

The Home Office is now advising EU nationals to sign up for Government email alerts rather than applying for residence documents as proof of status. The guidance was issued on 7 April 2017 and is a tacit admission that the Home Office is overwhelmed by applications from EU citizens and their families. The guidance is not mandatory; EU citizens can still apply for residence documents if they want to, and indeed EU citizens have to apply for these documents if they want to apply for naturalisation as British citizens. The latest quarterly immigration statistics certainly showed a dramatic rise in applications for permanent residence documents: Given that the Government has: refused…

25th April 2017 By Colin Yeo

Brexit Information · Immigration Law Practitioners’ Association

Very useful resource page from ILPA on EU rights of residence including a new series of fact sheets on: Brexit 1: The Rights of EEA and Swiss Nationals in the UK Brexit 2: EEA and Swiss nationals and their family members Brexit 3: EU rights of residence as a worker Brexit 4: EU rights of residence as a self-employed person Brexit 5: EU rights of residence as a student Brexit 6: EU Rights of Residence as a Self-Sufficient Person Brexit 7: Comprehensive Sickness Insurance Brexit 8: Permanent Residence under EU law Brexit 9: British Citizenship for EEA and Swiss Nationals Source: Brexit Information · Info Service · Immigration Law Practitioners’…

20th April 2017 By Colin Yeo

Do dual EU-UK citizens have rights under EU law?

The question of what rights are enjoyed by an EU citizen who naturalises as a British citizen and becomes a dual citizen has become a critically important one in the context of Brexit. There is huge uncertainty amongst EU citizens and their family members living in the UK about their future status and there is huge interest in the possibility of naturalising as British citizens. At the same time, though, it has to be said, the number of EU citizens successfully applying for naturalisation as British actually fell between 2015 and 2016, from 17,158 to 14,901. This was presumably because of additional hurdles the UK Government has erected in the way of EU citizens seeking…

3rd April 2017 By Colin Yeo

Home Office now says health insurance ‘just a technicality’

“EU citizens will not be removed from the UK or refused entry solely because they do not have comprehensive sickness insurance,” said a spokesman. Very welcome news but it is difficult to understand the Home Office’s legal position on all this. They are categorically NOT saying that they will recognise a right of permanent residence for a self sufficient person or student who did not have comprehensive sickness insurance, only that they will not be refused entry or removed. It is not written down in any of the myriad official policies of which I am aware; it is at the moment just a statement to a journalist. Laws are supposed to…

8th March 2017 By Colin Yeo

Briefing: the legal status of EU citizens in the UK

Summary The Home Office has hardened its position on EU citizens who are living in the UK but who do not have a “right of residence” under Directive 2004/38/EC. New regulations were introduced on 1 February 2017 and a swathe of policy documents were updated shortly afterwards. These regulations and policies increasingly suggest that an EU citizen who is physically present in the UK but who the Home Office considers does not have a right of residence is in a precarious and unlawful position and can be removed from the UK at any time. New powers have been assumed by the Home Office to do just that: remove an EU citizen…

27th February 2017 By Colin Yeo

Brexit briefing: Securing EEA Nationals’ Residence Rights

By Matthew Evans, Director, AIRE Centre Introduction The rights of EEA nationals (plus Swiss) to reside in the UK are primarily addressed in the Citizens Directive (Directive 2004/38/EC) which is implemented in the United Kingdom in the Immigration (European Economic Area) Regulations 2016. There are three principal categories of residence: A right to reside for up to three months without any conditions or formalities other than holding a valid identity card or passport (Article 6); A right to reside for more than three months if they are workers or self-employed; if they have sufficient resources for themselves and their family members not to become a burden on the social assistance system…

21st February 2017 By ILPA

Brexit briefing: Rights to Remain after Brexit

By Bernard Ryan, Professor of Migration Law, University of Leicester Introduction This paper is concerned with the possibility of a post-Brexit right to remain for those residing in the United Kingdom under EU law on the free movement of persons.[i] It focuses on the question: who should have a right to remain, both in the negotiations at the EU level, and at the domestic level? It also considers the status and further rights that should go with such a right to remain. Rights of residence in EU law The main source of rights of residence in EU law is the Citizens Directive of 2004.[ii] It provides for rights of residence for EU…

20th February 2017 By ILPA

What does the Brexit White Paper say about immigration?

Short version: not a lot we did not know already Long version… Yesterday, the day after MPs began the process of the UK leaving the EU, the Government published a White Paper on Brexit. The formal title is The United Kingdom’s exit from and new partnership with the European Union White Paper Cm 9417. A White Paper is supposed to set out proposals for future legislation before a Bill is formally laid before Parliament. This time, the Bill preceded the proposals. The White Paper only sets out the UK’s current negotiating position. Whether this position is realistic or not is quite another issue. Immigration legislation needed The White Paper recognises…

3rd February 2017 By Colin Yeo

Free Movement review of 2016

2016 has not been a good year for free movement the concept. Non coincidentally, it has been a busy year on Free Movement the website. The response of migrants and their families to harsh rules that would break them apart is not simply to abandon their hopes and abandon the lives they have built. They resist and they fight. That is not to say they win, though. On the Free Movement website Here on Free Movement we underwent a major redesign at the end of the year. The intention has been to fit more content into the same space as well as modernising the look. One of the main functional changes…

30th December 2016 By Colin Yeo

Young People and Migration in the UK: An Overview – Migration Observatory

The University of Oxford based Migration Observatory has published a new report on young migrants. It reads a little like the introductory sequence to The Six Million Dollar Man. The key points: Migrants tend to be young when they arrive, typically as young adults coming for work or study, or as children accompanying their parents. Most young people whose first or main language is not English also speak good English. They tend to have lower educational achievement when they start school, but they make faster progress and so the gap is largely eliminated by age 16. Young migrants are more likely to have degree-level qualifications than the UK born. Employment…

24th December 2016 By Colin Yeo

Parliamentary report recommends continuation of EU law for existing residents

Following hot on the heels of the hardline British Future report on the rights of EU nationals in the UK after Brexit, the House of Lords EU Justice Committee has today published a report on the same subject. It is a far more comprehensive and comprehending piece of work and it is clear that the authors have fully understood the problems facing EU nationals in the UK, UK citizens in the UK and the scale of the task facing the UK Government. In summary, the report recommends that full EU law rights be preserved for existing EU national residents of the UK. The report does not make assumptions about the…

14th December 2016 By Colin Yeo

Report recommends cut off date for new arrivals from EU

A hardline report chaired by prominent Leave campaigner Gisela Stewart into the status of EU nationals in the UK has recommended a cut off date for new arrivals from the EU, likely to be April 2017, and a massive registration programme for existing EU residents. EU citizens arriving after the cut off date would be subject to the full force of UK immigration law on Brexit, presumably meaning they would become unlawfully resident on that date. Existing EU residents would also become subject to UK immigration laws and would have to apply for Indefinite Leave to Remain. UPDATE: the British Future report might usefully be contrasted with a subsequent excellent one of…

12th December 2016 By Colin Yeo

Fact Sheet: The rights of EU nationals in the U.K.

  Jean Lambert MEP has published a factsheet on the legal rights of EU nationals currently living in the UK. Written by Colin Yeo, barrister at Garden Court Chambers, it answers several of the most commonly-asked questions in these uncertain times following the vote to leave the European Union (‘Brexit’). The factsheet can be downloaded here. Hard copies are available from Jean’s constituency office on request. I had previously published a link to this factsheet but must somehow have deleted it later – I just discovered it had vanished from the website. Sorry about that! Source: THE RIGHTS OF EU NATIONALS IN THE UK – Jean Lambert MEP

8th December 2016 By Colin Yeo

After a hard BREXIT: British citizens and residence in the EU

This entry is part of 13 in the series Brexit briefings by ILPA

After a hard BREXIT: British citizens and residence in the EU By Elspeth Guild, Kingsley Napley, Steve Peers, University of Essex and Jonathan Kingham, LexisNexis, 3 November 2016 Introduction The purpose of this briefing note is to outline what a so-called hard BREXIT will mean for British citizens seeking to visit, live and work in the EU. Assuming that no specific transitional arrangements are made and no special access is negotiated for British citizens after the UK leaves the EU this note sets out the current state of EU law on how British citizens will be treated. It covers nine specific areas which are covered in order of the length…

9th November 2016 By ILPA

Government loses Article 50 court case. What might it mean for Brexit?

The Government has today lost a major case in the High Court on the issue of whether a Parliamentary vote is required before the Government issues notice under Article 50 of the Treaty on the Functioning of the European Union to the EU that the UK is leaving. If the High Court’s decision stands, it means that the Government cannot begin the formal legal process of leaving the EU without there first being a vote in Parliament. The full High Court judgment is available here. The decision turns on upholding the constitutionally sacrosanct principle of Parliamentary sovereignty: This subordination of the Crown (i.e. the executive government) to law is the foundation…

3rd November 2016 By Colin Yeo

Online EEA permanent residence and European passport return service now available

The Home Office has quietly and with no fanfare launched online residence certificate and permanent residence certificate application processes and accompanying European passport return service. I have put together a 20 minute video walk through of what the permanent residence application service looks like with some commentary which I hope is helpful for those considering whether to use the service. The video was recorded in October 2016 and the online process has since been updated and improved since then. You can read about the changes here. About the online EEA application process The online process is basically an online version of the EEA(QP) or EEA(PR) forms. However, the online versions…

4th October 2016 By Colin Yeo

Home Office launches online EU applications and passport return service

UPDATE: Beta version of online service now available here. A series of pages have appeared on the Governments official gov.uk website suggesting that the Home Office will be launching a new online application process for EEA nationals on 1 October 2016: The European passport return service is available for EEA and Swiss nationals applying online using the EEA(QP) or EEA(PR) application forms. The service appears to be restricted to those willing to use the official EEA(QP) and EEA(PR) forms in an online format. Included as part of the service is the possibility of securing swift return of the passport used to make the application. It seems the online form is completed…

21st September 2016 By Colin Yeo

Full Ministerial Statement on Brexit by David Davis

Official statement by David Davis on Brexit: And so, as we proceed, we will be guided by some clear principles. First, as I said, we wish to build a national consensus around our position. Second, while always putting the national interest first, we will always act in good faith towards our European partners. Third, wherever possible we will try to minimise any uncertainty that change can inevitably bring. And, fourth, crucially, we will – by the end of this process – have left the European Union, and put the sovereignty and supremacy of this Parliament beyond doubt. There isn’t a great deal of detail. As has been said elsewhere, the…

6th September 2016 By Colin Yeo

Full text of stark Japanese Government warning to UK on Brexit

A considerable number of Japanese businesses operating in Europe are concentrated in the UK. We have been informed of a variety of requests that these businesses have in relation to BREXIT including: maintenance of trade in goods with no burdens of customs duties and procedures; unfettered investment; maintenance of an environment in which services and financial transactions across Europe can be provided and carried out smoothly; access to workforces with the necessary skills; and harmonised regulations and standards between the UK and the EU. The Government of Japan trusts that the UK and the EU, by heeding such requests to the fullest extent and responding to them in a cooperative…

5th September 2016 By Colin Yeo

Brexit question and answer session: video

Brexit question and answer session Last Friday evening Steve Peers, Professor of European Law at the a university of Essex, Samia Badani of New Europeans and Matthew Evans of the AIRE Centre participated in a live question and answer session organised by Migrant Rights Network on the impact of Brexit on EU and EEA nationals living in the UK. You can see the whole session below. It weighs in at 1 hour 20mminutes, so make yourself comfortable first. We start with short explanations of our take of what happens next and then field questions from the audience.

21st July 2016 By Colin Yeo

What does Brexit Minister David Davis think about free movement?

Conveniently, David Davis MP, our new Minister for Brexit, made a detailed speech and wrote a detailed article on the subject of free movement and negotiations with the EU. From these we can see quite quickly that he does not like free movement. Of people, anyway. Towards the UK, anyway. He probably loves free movement of Brits to other countries and free movement of goods, services and capital. Back in February 2016 Davis set out his views at length in a speech to the Institute of Chartered engineers. It is reproduced in full on his website (if it disappears let me know, I’ve got a copy). He is dismissive of the Norwegian…

13th July 2016 By Colin Yeo