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The subject of Brexit deportations is one that many people would like answers to at this time. For many EU nationals living in the UK, the prospect that they could be deported following the formal Brexit process is a scary one. At this stage, there aren’t any concrete answers as to who may or may not be deported following Brexit, or if this process would even be legal on human rights grounds, but we can make some guesses as to who might be at risk and what steps EU citizens should take in order to safeguard against Brexit deportation.
At this stage, it is difficult to say with certainty who is at risk of deportation following the Brexit negotiations. Until the process is complete, EU nationals can still enjoy the same freedom of movement throughout the UK. There should be no restrictions placed on individuals living or working in the UK until the government says otherwise.
There have been several news stories about EU citizens applying for citizenship in the UK and having their applications rejected. In December 2016, a Dutch woman who has lived in the UK for 24 years was told she should make arrangements to leave the UK following her failed residency application. Later that month, a German neuroscientist received a similar letter. These are isolated cases and cannot be relied on to paint a picture of the entire process. This has, however, been used to highlight how frustrating the process can be and how unprepared the Home Office is to deal with these applications.
Ministers recently revealed that 135,000 EU nationals applied for permanent residence in the UK in the last 6 months, so this could be a route you might want to consider to secure your place. The risk of Brexit deportation is leaving many EU nationals in limbo, meaning that many people are taking precautionary steps rather than taking the wait and see stance.
The process is different depending on whether you have been in the UK for longer than 5 years. If you have been settled in the UK for longer than 5 years, you will have to apply for permanent residence status, which is explained in greater detail here. If you have been settled in the UK for less than 5 years, you will need to apply for a registration certificate. You can apply as a qualified person based on your employment, for example, or you can apply through a family member or your partner.
There are campaign groups like The 3 Million who are raising awareness of the plight of the EU nationals living in the UK, while also shining a light on those British citizens living overseas. The issue of EU nationals rights is tied in with the rights of those British citizens who have made their home overseas, so many people are calling for policy makers to refrain from using both sides as bargaining chips during the negotiations.
If you think you may be affected by the Brexit vote, get in touch with one of our immigration team today so we can help answer some of your questions. From April, we are able to offer free of charge reviews of deportation documents as part of our service for those who may be, or have already been impacted by deportation.