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CHELMSFORD, U.K. - July 26, 2016 - PRLog -- The EU nationals living in the UK are not a very happy lot today. They are not very sure what is going to happen next, and where they will be in the near future. The new Prime Minister Theresa May and her colleagues are mulling over the decision on Article 50, triggering which will start the process of leaving the EU for good. Although there is still time, what makes the EU nationals nervous is the change in their immigration status.

It's not that the UK government does not realize the value of the contributions of the EU nationals who have been paying their taxes regularly and have been contributing to the state exchequer. It's alright for the EU nationals who have been living in the UK for the past 5 years because they are automatically eligible to apply for UK citizenship and will have a permanent right to reside in Britain. According to EU law, such citizens have the right to live in Britain permanently and they need not register for documentation in order to confirm their status.

Here are the Simple Steps to Become a British Citizen:

On the other hand, EU nationals who have lived in the UK continuously for a minimum period of 6 years have some good news. They are eligible to apply for UK citizenship provided they are interested in doing so. Those EU nationals who have lived in the UK for less than 5 years still have the right to reside in the UK as per EU law. There is no need for EU nationals to go for cumbersome registration of documents to continue enjoying their rights of free movement. However, if any of the EU nationals decide to apply for registration the process is the same.

However, if non-EU family members of these EU nationals who don't have a residence card issued by an EU member state and wish to enter Britain under the EU law, they need to apply for a family permit. In this case as well there are no changes in the government policy and applications will be processed as they have been all along.

Irish nationals are likely to be treated at par with British nationals by virtue of enjoying separate rights under several legislations that are in their favour. When it comes to Croatian nationals, they will need to apply for registration if they wish to continue living and working in the UK as per the transitional arrangements that were made when Croatia decided to join the European Union in 2013. The type of registration certificate they need to apply for will largely depend on whether they need permission to work in the UK.

Meanwhile there is a strong thinktank (members of the Britain in Europe thinktank) comprising university vice chancellors, educationists and solicitors who have called upon the UK government and the major political parties to offer reassurance and support to all EU nationals living in the UK. They want them to be assured that exit negotiations once Article 50 is triggered will not affect their status. They want the authorities to assure the EU nationals that they may go ahead with their plans for the future in Britain as it has been until Brexit happened.

It is the government's prerogative to make sure that the EU nationals are not unnecessarily put into hardships and alienated just because Britain has decided to exit from the EU. The government needs to demonstrate that the EU nationals are indeed part of British society and have been contributing not by just paying their taxes but by giving in every way possible for the development of the country.

The group of educationists headed by founder of thinktank Dr Dimitrios Giannoulopoulos has emphasized the need for the government to immediately condemn the instances of criminal and racist behaviour by some elements that has become profound since the referendum.

To make things worse, the statements made by the then home secretary and the current Prime Minister Theresa May that it would be "absurd" to promise the EU nationals that everything is going to be the same. She implied that unless the negotiations with the remaining 27 member countries are completed, it is impossible to give any commitments. These utterances are only worsening the situation as far as EU nationals are concerned, making them feel very nervous and uncertain about their future.

The reasons May is citing for not giving assurances is that their negotiating position with the EU will get terribly weakened if the government were to give such assurances. How can negotiations between two governments come in the way of deciding the immigration status of several people whose livelihood is at stake? What about the thousands of UK citizens living in any of the 27 member countries of the EU, what if they were to be treated as second class citizens by those respective countries? While there are no immediate answers for such questions, the government needs to think twice before acting. Any decision they take about the EU nationals living in the UK should not jeopardise them or other member countries.

Does the Government have any plans to deport EU Nationals from the UK?

Till date there hasn't been any change in the immigration laws of Britain. The EU nationals living in the UK are enjoying the same status and rights that they have been granted like any other foreign national living and working in the UK. As of now there is no need to fear as far as deportation proceedings are concerned. The status quo is still in force, and all EU nationals are safe unless they pose a genuine threat to the public or government they cannot and will not be deported.

UK Immigration Centre
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