As Theresa May takes up office as Prime Minster, Kate Boguslawska, a partner at leading City law firm, Carter Lemon Camerons LLP has said that EU nationals living in the UK may wish to seek UK citizenship.
Following the UK’s vote to withdraw from the EU, there has been considerable uncertainty for the three million EU nationals living in the UK about what the future holds.
During her short-lived but ultimately successful campaign for the leadership of the Conservative Party, the then Home Secretary said that she would offer no guarantees that EU nationals will be allowed to remain in the UK following the country’s withdrawal from the EU. She suggested that their fate very much depends on negotiations with other EU member states to ensure the rights of Britons living overseas.
Kate Boguslawska said: “With the formation of a new government today and Brexit negotiations on the horizon, this is a very uncertain time for EU nationals living in the UK. This will understandably create a lot of anxiety and so it is important that they are aware that there are options open to them to protect their right to live and work in the UK in the long-term.
The immigration rules say that if a European citizen has been living and working in the UK for at least five years, they can apply for a ‘permanent right to reside’ as an EEA (European Economic Area) citizen. It is important that this application is made as soon as possible.
After holding a residency card for a year, an EEA citizen with a permanent right to residence can apply for British Citizenship through naturalisation.”
She added that since the majority of EU countries permit their nationals to have dual citizenship, EU nationals would not normally be required to renounce their nationality in order to acquire UK citizenship.
Kate said: “That gives the best of both worlds: people can formalise their allegiance to the country they have chosen as their home without giving up their roots. And it can help them avoid the turmoil and unpredictability of the future in post-Brexit Britain.”
However, she sounded one note of caution, adding: “The steps towards citizenship must be taken quickly because there is not much time left and the Home Office expects a surge in applications.”
EU nationals concerned about how the UK’s vote to withdraw from the EU will affect them can contact Carter Lemon Cameron LLP’s for advice on the immigration and nationality aspects on 020 7406 1000.