The right of Free Movement finds its legal basis in Article 3(2) of the Treaty on European Union (TEU); Article 21 of the Treaty on the Functioning of the European Union (TFEU); Titles IV and V TFEU; Article 45 of the Charter of Fundamental Rights of the European Union. Currently, Europeans status after Brexit day remains uncertain.
The Treaty of Maastricht 1992 introduced the notion of EU citizenship to be enjoyed automatically by every national of a Member State. It is this EU citizenship that underpins the right of persons to move and reside freely within the territory of the Member States. The Lisbon Treaty confirmed this right, which is also included in the general provisions on the Area of Freedom, Security and Justice.
As we all know, Priti Patel recently announced the death of free movement immediately after a no-deal Brexit. This has obviously alarmed all the Europeans currently living in the UK who have perceived Patel’s comments quite threatening to their European Status.
The Home Office have stated EEA nationals will be allowed to stay provided they apply for settled or pre-settled status; nevertheless, there is still uncertainty on whether EEA nationals are requested to apply for settled or pre-settled status before Brexit or they will have time until 31st December 2020 as previously published on the Government website.
What is certain is that, since the applications for settled and pre-settled status have become available, more than 900,000 migrants have submitted a valid application among which 65% were granted settled status and 35% pre-settled.
Applications are usually processed in 3-4 days unless the Home Office request further documentation which can be uploaded online. The application is completely free and only in rare circumstances the Home Office requires to post the documents; in most of the cases, they can be uploaded online, they need to be categorised and a date range must be attributed to each specific document. In light of the precariousness of the current situation, it is undoubtedly advisable applying before Brexit for settled or pre-settled status.
Settled status guarantees right to reside in the UK on a permanent basis and return to the UK after up to 5 years of absence. Whether migrants decide to leave for more than 5 years, their settled status will lapse. With pre-settled status, migrants can stay in the UK for 5 years and apply thereafter for settled status. If they leave for more than 2 years, their pre-settled status will automatically lapse.
If you need assistance with your application for pre-settled or settled-status, please contact our immigration lawyers on 020 3693 7591.