The UK referendum on May 23rd, 2016 resulted in a majority of 52% voting for the leave of the European Union. 17 million UK nationals voted FOR the so-called BREXIT. This historic democratic act will lead to the first exit of a member of the EU. At the same time many uncertainties and questions arise for EU nationals living and working in the UK and UK nationals living in EU countries; for employers and their employees alike.
BREXIT -No urgency but provisions are advisable
At present, the impact of this referendum will not be effective for at least two years. The European Union Treaty defines in article 50 that the European Council needs to be notified by the member country wishing to withdraw their membership. The newly appointed Prime Minister, Theresa May, has not yet triggered article 50. The official withdrawal notice will mark the starting point for a two year negotiation period between the UK and the remaining 27 EU members. Until then and throughout this period , the status quo remains.
What to do now, what to watch out for?
According to the UK Home Office, they expect the legal status of EU nationals living in the UK and UK nationals living in EU member states will be properly protected. This cannot be interpreted as a garantuee of these rights. Thus it is advisable to EU nationals residing in the UK to gather documentation to prove rights following the exit.
EU nationals continously and lawfully living in the UK for at least 5 years automatically have a permanent right to reside. Those who have been living in the UK for at least 6 years are entitled to apply for British citizenship.
For both groups it is advisable to apply for permanent residence.
To those EU nationals living in the UK for less than 5 years it is recommendable to apply for a registration certificate to keep their right to reside.
We recommend to all employers to identify EU nationals living and working in the UK and vice versa. Also you should take a proactive approach and plan well in advance. Allow extra time for processing delays in your medium-term planning. Keep a tight communication with immigration specialists to stay ahead of the changes.
Disclaimer: The information provided in this article is for general information purposes only and should not be considered as legal or tax advice. If you have any further questions on the applicability of this information, please get in touch with our office.