My having British children, now almost grown up, does not guarantee my rights to stay in the UK after we leave the EU any more than being married to a Brit, as so many British people seem to think. Of course I don’t think I’ll be kicked out when the UK leaves the EU. I am married to an Englishman, my children are British, with dual French nationality. I’ve lived here 30 years, but that guarantees nothing.
How am I going to be able to stay lawfully in this country once my EU passport means am a second class citizen? Yes, EU foreigners may become second class citizens if we lose our current rights to stay lawfully in the UK, on top of not being allowed to vote at national elections (indeed a EU rule), although the UK has made an exception for Commonwealth residents who are allowed to vote at national level, when their own British citizens living abroad over 15 years have lost that right.
The British government has guaranteed nothing about the future status of 3 million EU citizens here, and more shockingly have silenced British citizens abroad over 15 years (at least one million) over a matter that concerns them directly. The matter went to Court, the British citizens lost their case.
Consider this: How will I see a doctor?
Wait and see, they say. Keep calm it will be fine, I hear.
Will it? I don’t know, how should I carry on?
Imagine how stressful this new ‘not knowing’ is?
Please bear with me, this is NOT a Brexit rant, or saying EU citizens should keep more rights than non-EU or other ‘them and us’ divisiveness. We are where we are, these are just facts that need to be considered for 3 Million EU citizens lawfully in the UK who do not know which political end of Brexit will ‘win’. We are feeling vulnerable when many have been told “If you don’t like it, go home then”. Yes by a minority, a vocal one nonetheless.
If non-EU foreigners need a Permanent Residency card now, I will probably need one of these;
this is new to me, so how does this work then?
-> To get Permanent Residency a foreigner must have lived and worked in the UK for 5 years or be self sufficient with Private Health Insurance (as is the case under EU law). In the UK since November 2015 they also need to earn over £35,000. Or have a sponsor to fill in jobs that the UK has shortages in. Stay at home parent or carer do not necessarily tick this box.
-> To get PR we must fill in an 80 page questionnaire, hand in our passport (for up to 4 months), with tons of paperwork to prove residence, earnings, employment, or spouses’ details for homemakers. Mothers (or fathers) who chose to look after their children or an elderly parent whilst their partner works, maybe earning less than £35,000, may not be granted PR with these rules. We must also pass an ‘English test’ which many British people would fail.
-> We’re lawfully registered with HMRC, the NHS, local councils (in my case for 30 years) but these Departments do not ‘talk’ to each other; let alone the Home Office.
-> The Home Office is inundated with PR applications and currently takes about 4 months to issue the PR card (about 25% get rejected). They can keep passports for all this time, not answer the phone, or not reply to emails with legitimate questions for ages. Applicants are reliant on overworked Home Office staff. Exceptions do not make the rule, but one applicant born in Rome received a card stating “Romanian”. Employing an Immigration lawyer to guarantee the ridiculous 85 page paperwork is in order is not within everyone’s financial reach.
Can you remember the exact dates of your holidays in the last 5 years? If we went to visit family in the EU, often our holiday, we need these dates to apply. Wrong dates, rejection? Apparently so for some. I do not know the exact dates I went to see my family 2 years ago, let alone 5. I have not needed to keep this information. So I did not.
If you think the Permanent Residency system does need to be looked at by government and made simpler and fairer, please consider this petition:
-> Since November 2015 (i.e. pre-referendum) EU citizens wanting to get British Citizenship need to have had a Permanent Residence card for a year, then can apply.
(EU Spouses of British nationals need not wait a year but do need PR).
If you think it fair that EU citizens who have been lawfully here more than 5 years and whose children are British should be able to get naturalisation more easily if they wish to become British subjects (they will need to swear allegiance to the Queen), please check this other one out:
If you read all the way to here, thank you.
The £35,000 salary requirement to settle in the UK
Skills shortages needed in the UK: https://www.gov.uk/government/uploads/system/uploads/attachment_data/file/486107/Shortage_Occupation_List_-_November_2015.pdf
The British Nationality (General) (Amendment No. 3) Regulations 2015: http://www.legislation.gov.uk/uksi/2015/1806/made
Cross border Legal article: