Back in 2016 a general referendum vote was put to the voters in the UK, do we stay in the EU, or do we leave the EU. This was done by the then Prime Minister David Cameron.
It was called the EU Referendum Vote, and the date was set for Thursday, June 23, 2016.
Not to drop names, but there were many high ranking politicians, celebrities, and other highly visible and influential people, such as Nigel Farage and Boris Johnson, who is now the current Prime Minister, who lobbied hard to show everyone how leaving the EU would make the UK, a more independent and better place to live.
Even the head boss of the largest pub chain in the country Tim Martin of Wetherspoon, was and still is pro-leaving the EU.
Politics aside, he does sell a cheap pint, you have to give him that.
The main issues that seemed to be tossed about and used as ammunition in the battle of leaving the EU were the following:
- We will have more money for our own NHS, as we will not have to pay the £9 to £13 billion each year, we pay to the EU in “membership fees”. This figure varies according to what we do pay, and what we receive back in what may be spent on the UK by the EU.
- We can limit immigration. Our island is sinking due to the fact we have an immigration problem, too many EU nationals have come here to live and work, in addition, we allow too many asylum seekers and others across our borders. This is a drain on our systems, and we would be able to limit this once we leave the EU.
And so the country became polarized, divided in what we thought and felt.
A new term was coined, “Brexit”, and you had those wanting the UK to leave, and those who wanted the UK to remain.
On Thursday, June 23, 2016, UK voters went to the polls and voted to either leave or remain in the EU, the vote was close.
There was a 72.2% turnout in voters, which is high.
Remain: 16,141,241 48.1%
Leave: 17,410,742 51.9%
A margin of 3.8% or 1,269,501 votes.
The “die is cast”, and the “hammer to fall”, the UK was going to leave the EU.
The Invocation of Article 50, the formal notice of the UK leaving the EU, was done on March 29, 2017, with the UK finalizing their leaving of the EU by 29th March 2019.
The UK government then had to set out to put together a “deal” outlining the UK’s leaving the EU. Things like trade and tariffs on imports and exports, immigration, “free skies” agreements for airlines, all had to be sorted out before the UK could leave.
No deal could be agreed upon, and so a new deadline was set for October 31, 2019, this deadline is to hammer out a deal for the UK to leave.
There are a couple of points that seem to be the “bones of contention” in outlining a deal for the UK leaving the EU:
- The UK’s membership fees would need to be paid till 2022 or so, which means there is an estimated £39 billion “divorce bill” to be paid.
- Republic of Ireland is in the EU, Northern Ireland is in the UK, the EU wants a “hard border” between the two countries. This hard border goes against the Good Friday Agreement signed in 1998.
There are those that feel the UK does not have to pay the estimated £39 billion, we can just walk away.
Then there are those that say if the UK reneges on the fees, who would then deal or trade with us? We have not held up our end of a bargain/deal, we could do it again.
The issue of a hard border between ROI/Republic of Ireland and NI/Northern Ireland brings up further complications and implications, one being violence and war.
If the troubles in NI were bad in the 70’s and onward, they could get worse. In addition, the United States has stated if there is a hard border between the two Irish countries, they will consider limiting its trade to the UK.
Trade that the UK is hanging their hat on if we leave with a no-deal and trades to the EU are hindered.
So why am I telling/writing all this, and why are you hopefully reading it….to give you some background to the new immigration issues being faced by EU Nationals if they wish to stay in the UK.
End of Free Movement
Currently, if no deal is struck between the UK and the EU by October 31, 2019 (Halloween of all dates), free movement in the UK will end on December 31, 2020.
This means the UK closes the borders, and if you are not a UK passport holder, or have the proper Visa or status to enter the UK, you cannot enter the UK.
Currently, EU Nationals are allowed to leave and re-enter the UK as the UK is a part of the EU, this will currently end on December 31, 2020.
Should a “deal” be struck, that date will extend to June 30, 2021.
When free movement ends, any EU Nationals here in the UK, unless they have the proper status, will lose the right to live, work, and enter the UK.
No more free movement.
This no more free movement is estimated and thought to affect almost four (4) million people, but this is just an estimate, this figure could go much higher, as due to the Brexit, which the leave campaign stated would limit immigration, has caused a spike in immigration.
EU Nationals wanting to live in the UK came here in droves so they could be here before the UK formally left the EU.
In addition, those that stated the NHS would receive the extra funds the UK paid the EU, had no right to make such statements, as they were in no position to state so, and no such extra funding would go to the NHS in the first place.
All in all, the Referendum to Leave the EU, has caused quite a stir, and now we are looking at 4 million people, at a minimum, having their lives disrupted.
The UK needs EU Nationals as they make up a large portion of the workforce, businesses, and communities.
They are our friends, family, co-workers, and neighbors, forcing them to leave would be a crime and horribly wrong.
Many EU Nationals have lived and worked in the UK for many years, some 20 or more years. The UK government recognized this and came up with the EU Settlement Scheme to allow EU Nationals a way to stay in the UK and receive either Settled or Pre-Settled Status.
This is also referred to as LTR/Leave to Remain and ILR/Indefinite Leave to Remain.
In part, this immigration scheme was a knee-jerk reaction to the fact there are an estimated 1.3 million UK citizens living abroad in the EU.
Should the UK make it difficult for someone from the EU to stay in the UK, the EU could make it difficult for someone from the UK to stay in the EU.
Initially, the EUSS had a fee of £65, however, once the EU stated they would not charge a fee for UK citizens to live in the EU, the Prime Minister at the time Teresa May, scrapped the fee.
So what is the EUSS, what are the qualifications to apply, and what do you get?
Identity: You need to be able to prove your identity and that you are an EU National. This can be done by your Passport or a National ID Card.
Eligibility: This is how long you have been in the UK. You need to be able to prove you live in the UK, even if you just moved here, and have only been here six (6) months. You need to show documentation you live here, P60’s, bank statements, tenancy agreements, award letters, almost anything that has your name, address and a date on it is acceptable.
Suitability: You cannot be a career criminal, I jest, but you need to disclose any criminal charges and convictions.
This does not mean you will not receive status to stay in the UK. You can even have gone to prison and still receive status to stay, but the time in prison will not count as time in the UK. Prison time breaks any “continuous residence” in the UK.
As per the gov.uk web site, “You must not be a serious or persistent criminal, or a threat to national security.”
As you can see, there are no questions related to work/job status or credit history.
You do not need to be working, paying taxes, or have any income to be eligible for the EUSS; just be an EU National, or sponsored by an EU National.
What Status Do You Receive?
The status you receive under the EUSS is based on how long you have been in the UK, or if you are a non-EU, how long you and your sponsor have been in a valid relationship, which can be a marriage or a civil partnership, or any relationship recognized by the UK.
Pre-settled or LTR: If you have been in the UK for less than five (5) years, or in a relationship with an EU national if you are a non-EU, you receive Pre-Settled status or Leave to Remain.
Once you have been in the UK for 5 years, or in the relationship for 5 years, you can reapply for Settled status; using the same free process and application.
You can also leave the UK for up to two (2) years, and not lose your status.
Settled or ILR: This is for those EU Nationals, or non-EU Nationals that were sponsored, who have been in the UK for 5 or more years.
Children of EU parents who receive Settled status, also receive the same status as their parents, even if they are young and may not even be age 5.
Children born of any EU Nationals with Settled status, will automatically receive UK citizenship.
Those with Settled status can leave the UK for up to five (5) years, and not lose their status. In addition, once an applicant has received Settled status, in 12 months they can apply for UK Citizenship.
Under both Settled and Pre-Settled status, applicants are allowed to live and work in the UK, travel back into the UK should they travel or move away, and they are eligible for public funds such as benefits, housing, healthcare, pensions, and schools.
The scheme is much more complicated for some than what is presented here. It is advisable for anyone having questions to either visit the gov.uk web site for more information or phone the EU Settlement Resolution Centre. 0300 123 7379
One must remember and keep in mind, all this is fluid and changing all the time.
As of this writing August 2019, no deal to leave has been agreed on, Parliament is looking to block the current PM’s plans, and new ground is being broken in legal and political terms as to what may occur.
What is stated here is accurate at the time of writing, and may be subject to change.