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EEA Nationals in the UK: The Brexit Effect

The question on most EEA nationals lips is "what happens to us now?."

As an Immigration lawyer I know that the shock results of today's referendum is going to cause panic and alarm for EEA nationals currently residing in the UK exercising treaty rights. Yes, the position is precarious and there really is no simply answer, as much of the EU debate itself has been speculative at best. We will not know how the UK government plan on dealing with EEA nationals currently here until Article 50 of the Treaty of Lisbon has been invoked and negotiations are concluded on the exact details of Britain's departure from the EU. Perhaps the UK may be able to negotiate favourable terms or maybe not. We again speculate. What we do know is that there is still time for those currently in the UK to do something to cement their residency in the UK whether that be to document their permanent residency or pursue British Citizenship. There are options providing you meet the requisite eligibility requirements.

We have seen an enormous divide in recent weeks on where Britain should stand in Europe, but we remain unified as British Citizens on our countries sovereignty and to that extent democracy has prevailed. But we must not forget that the UK's membership in Europe has positively contributed to migration and the development of progressive human rights legislation in the UK and so to that end we have a lot to thank the European Convention on Human Rights for. I can envisage a departure from the ECHR and repeal of the Human Rights Act in place of a British Bill of Rights. I only hope that the fundamental principles of justice, equality and freedom that has been so clearly been enshrined in EU law is incorporated in any Bill of Rights the UK plans to introduce in due course.

For now we will just have to wait and see how matters develop but for those EEA nationals currently in the UK concerned about their immigration status, then they should seek specialist legal advice.

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