EEA nationals and their family members should take immediate steps to protect their status in the UK

12th August 2016 by

The results of the referendum on the UK’s membership of the European Union on 23 June 2016 and the apparent lack of government plans on how to proceed following this vote has created enormous levels of uncertainty, not least for EU nationals living in the UK and British citizens at home and abroad worried about the future.

We have taken a huge number of calls from people in Brighton (Sussex) and elsewhere who are concerned about what may lie ahead.

Currently, under EU law the legal situation of EU nationals in the UK continues, unchanged, and there are no immediate plans to re-class the residence rights of EEA nationals until either an exit deal is reached or, if no agreement is reached, two years have passed since the triggering of Article 50. The government’s current position is that Article 50 will not be triggered until at least next year. That said, statements by the Prime Minister that the future residence rights of EEA nationals in the UK will be a matter for exit negotiations have not provided any reassurance to those who will be affected.

Therefore our advice is that EEA citizens, Swiss citizens and EEA/Swiss family members who are here and who do not have UK Home Office issued residence or permanent residence documentation, should consider applying for them as soon as possible.

Obtaining permanent residence documents does not require progression to British citizenship and so does not require consideration of potential loss of other citizenship. Those who do not yet qualify for permanent residence should start keeping schedules of absences from the UK and maintain records of work and other activities/connections to the UK.

Organisations, such as the Immigration Law Practitioners’ Association (of which Healys LLP is a member), are undertaking advocacy on the need for the Government to take urgent steps to guarantee the rights of EU nationals in the UK to provide all affected with some certainty. Meghan Vozila, solicitor in our London office is active in these efforts.

For further information, please contact Meghan Vozila ( or call 020 7822 4000