Tag Archives: nationals

Protecting EEA nationals’ rights of residence post Brexit

What should EEA nationals in the UK do now to protect their rights?

Whilst it was initially assumed that the rights of EEA citizens living lawfully in the UK would be automatically protected, their long term status is now far from guaranteed.

Those who have already acquired permanent residence and those who have an EU right of residence but have yet to acquire permanent residence are more likely to be protected. Although strictly speaking EEA nationals are not required to document their rights, in the light of the recent developments, it would be highly advisable to obtain documents proving the exercise of EU law rights in their status in the UK.

Documents proving the exercise of EU Law rights include:

For EEA national workers and their EEA national family members

– A UK Document Certifying Permanent Residence for those who have already acquired permanent residence automatically by the operation of Law having exercised treaty rights for a continuous period of 5 years; and

– A UK Registration Certificate for those currently exercising treaty rights in the UK who have yet to acquire permanent residence

For non- EEA family members of a qualified person or an EEA national with right of permanent residence

– A UK Residence card

For non-EEA family members of EEA nationals who have acquired right of permanent residence

– A UK permanent residence card

Which form?

The EEA (PR) is for permanent residence of EEA nationals and their family member;

The EEA (QP) is for residence certificate for EEA nationals – the Home Office offers an express service at some of his premium service centers;

The EEA (FM) is for residence card for non-EEA family members and those with retained rights

The EEA (EFM) is for residence card for extended family members defined as dependant relatives

The DRF1 is for applications by family members on the basis of derived rights of residence.

What is the cost?

There is currently a mandatory fee of £65.

Non EEA family members are required to enroll their biometric information when applying for their residence card. This process costs an additional £19.20.

How long does it take?

The Home Office has an obligation to issue residence documents within six months of application.  Whilst most applications from EEA nationals are dealt with within weeks, applications from non-EEA nationals usually take months.

If you need Immigration legal assistance, please do not hesitate to contact us.

 

Right to Work Checks – Workers and Employers Beware

July 2016 –The Home Office has tightened the noose on illegal working even further. This could have a considerable impact on foreign workers and employers alike if ignored.

LEGAL BACKGROUND

Sections 34 and 35 of the Immigration Act 2016 came into force on 12 July 2016.
Section 34 amends the Immigration Act 1971 by introducing a new offence of illegal working (section 24B).
Section 35 amends section 21 of the 2006 Act, which sets out the criminal office of employing an illegal worker.

ILLEGAL WORKING:

With effect from 12 July 2016, under section 24 B of the 1971 Act (as inserted by section 34 of 2016 Act) a person commits the offence of illegal working if he is:
• subject to immigration control and works when disqualified from doing so by reason of his immigration status; and
• at the time, he knows or has reasonable cause to believe that he is disqualified from working by reason of his immigration status.

A person has been disqualified by reason of his immigration status if:
• he has not been granted leave to enter in the UK; or
• his leave to enter or remain in the UK: – is invalid; or – has ceased to have effect (due to curtailment, or revocation, or cancellation, or passage of time); or
• is subject to a condition preventing the person from doing work of that kind.

In other words, a person commits this offence if they are subject to immigration control and work when they know full well, or have reasonable cause to believe, that they have not permission to do so.

The offence of illegal working is not limited to working under a contract of employment and is intended to cover all types of work, including apprenticeships and self-employment.

Under the new offence, wages from illegal working can be seized as the proceeds of crime. In England and Wales carries a maximum penalty of six months’ imprisonment and/or an unlimited fine. The fine is limited by status in Scotland and Northern Ireland.

EMPLOYING AN ILLEGAL WORKER

Section 21 of the 2006 Act (as amended by section 35 of the 2016 Act) an employer commits an offence if he employs an illegal worker and knows or has reasonable cause to believe that the person has no right to do the work in question. This means that an employer can no longer evade prosecution by claiming that they did not know that the employee in question had no permission to work.

The amended offence allows the investigating agency to prosecute employers when it is found that ‘the employer have reasonable cause to believe that the employee could not undertake the employment, even where they perhaps deliberately ignored the information or circumstances that would have caused the employer to know that the employee lacked permission to work.’

The offence of employing an illegal worker is not limited to staff under a contract of employment, it also applies to contracts of service or apprenticeship, whether expressed or implied, whether oral or in writing.

The maximum sentence on indictment for this offence has been increased from 2 to 5 years.
The civil penalty of up to £20,000 per illegal worker will continue to be applied as sanction in most routine cases – however the Home Office has warned that in serious cases, prosecution may be considered where it is an appropriate response to non compliance.

The UKVI have published a new guide, which can be found at: https://www.gov.uk/government/uploads/system/uploads/attachment_data/file/536953/An_Employer_s_guide_to_right_to_work_checks_-_July_16.pdf

The guide applies to checks required on or after 16 May 2014.

British Citizenship for EEA applicants. Date of issuance of PR card not always relevant.

January 2016 – Under the British Nationality Act 1981 to qualify for British citizenship an applicant must show, amongst other things, that he or she is settled in the UK (i.e. he or she is free from any immigration restriction on the period for which he or she might remain in the UK).

Under normal circumstances, citizens of EU and EEA countries and their family members automatically gain permanent residence after exercising their treaty rights in the UK for 5 years.

Until November 2015, citizens of EU and EEA countries, who had automatically gained permanent residence in the UK, could apply for naturalisation providing that they could show that they had been free from immigration restriction for at least 12 months prior to filing for British citizenship.

Pursuant of British Nationality (General) (Amendment No. 3) Regulations 2015, citizens of EU and EEA countries are now required to apply for a permanent residence card before they can apply for British citizenship.  To do so, they are expected to complete the 85 page long EEA (PR) form and pay a processing fee of £65 per applicant.

Bearing in mind that the EEA Caseworking is taking on average 6 months, this additional requirement is going to extend the naturalisation process, which is by nature already a very protracted exercise, considerably.

Over the last few months, many of our clients were advised by the UKVI’s helpline and some of the Nationality Checking Centres that they would have to wait 12 months from obtaining their PR card before being able to file for naturalisation. The rational being that the PR card would in essence recognise their permanent residence only from the date of the card’s issuance rather than from the date they became permanent resident automatically by operation of EU law.

For instance, a Spanish national working in the UK since 2000 but issued with a PR card in 2015 would have to wait until 2016 to qualify for British Citizenship.

This interpretation of the regulations seemed to be at odds with EU Free movement law and needed to be clarified.

Following a recent FOI request the nationality policy team have now confirmed that permanent residence is acquired following 5 years of residence in accordance with the EEA Regulations and not on the date the residence card is issued. The date an applicant is deemed to have acquired permanent residence is recorded on the UKVI’s database and will be noted by the caseworker processing the naturalisation application.  It would appear that this information has yet to filter down to the army of staff dealing with ad-hoc enquiries.

 

For further information, please do not hesitate to contact us.