Ipswich solicitors Immigration Legal Services voice fears over Brexit deal for Suffolk’s EU nationals
An Ipswich solicitors which specialises in immigration has said the proposed Government deal for EU citizens in the UK “falls well short” of the rights they currently have.
Immigration Legal Services in St Matthew’s Street works with scores of families entering or leaving East Anglia from abroad, specialising in legal advice for issues such as UK citizenship, refugee rights, asylum, studying in the UK and deportation.
But legal experts at the firm have warned the Government’s proposed rights for EU citizens after Brexit does not meet their current needs, and was a concern shared by its legal advisors and clients who are facing uncertainty.
Sallie Davies, immigration practitioner, said: “Our view on the government proposals for EU citizens living in our region is that it falls well short of guaranteeing EU citizens in the UK the same rights as they enjoy now. It looks like the cut off date will take some time to negotiate which cannot give any certainty to EU citizens who entered the UK after March 29 2017.
“The bottom line is that, when the UK leaves the EU, EU citizens will have to ask permission to remain in the UK just like those from outside the EU.”
Under the proposed deal, EU nationals living in the UK for less than five years can continue to live and work, while those granted settled status can continue to live, work, study and claim benefits.
However, EU nationals who are already permanent residents will have to re-apply.
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But Ms Davies said they should not have to, and that many had permanent residency in theory because they had been in the UK for five years but did not have a card to confirm it.
“There are long delays now for EU citizens applying for a permanent residence card,” she said. “I dread to think what might happen as we approach Brexit and the Home Office has to cope with over three million applications of different types from EU citizens.
“I certainly think that those who already hold a permanent residence card should be given the new ‘settled’ status quickly and easily – after all it’s only a change of name. They are settled already and their card is evidence of this.
“Unfortunately our experience with the Home Office shows that it is highly unlikely that any new rules and procedures will be clear and comprehensible to the very people whose lives are overshadowed by this situation.”