A client of mine – let’s call him Mr H – came to my office last month incredibly concerned.
Born in Germany, he has lived in the UK for the last 32 years, and worked hard his entire life, contributing to British industry, and paying taxes. He has a family: two children, who are British citizens. They speak perfect English; it’s their first language.
In 2013, Mr H even applied for a Permanent Residence card – although he didn’t need to. Under Free Movement laws, European nationals have a right to remain in any EU country without a visa or permit. But Mr H wanted to make his life here official; he loves the UK and calls it his home.
But then, along came Brexit. There are reports of Europeans leaving the country, others without official documents losing their right to remain, and promises of a complete overhaul of Free Movement laws.
What is Mr H to do?
Apparently, he still has to register himself so that he can remain in the UK beyond June 2021 to qualify for either settled or pre settled status.
Doesn’t he already have this with permanent residence? No. He still needs to go back and register again, proving all the same things he has already proven in his Permanent Residence Card application.
Mr H must prove that he has worked in the UK for the time he says he has. He must go through his old bank statements, job contracts, travel documents and scan them over. They will be checked, and the Home Office will decide whether he is allowed to be classed as ‘settled’ in the UK.
The red tape is beyond belief. Mr H – along with many others – has built is life in Britain under pre-existing laws that he never believed would be changed. He has followed the law, payed into the economy, worked hard, and gone out of his way to make his life official.
Now, he and many others like him must needlessly go through the exact same process again, to meet rules which have been added decades after they decided to start their lives here.