Ever since we were all jolted upright by the Brexit result we have been waiting to hear plans of how it might affect all our lives in the UK. However, when it comes to EU nationals currently living and working in the UK, the uncertainty of their future must be a constant worry. There is still no guarantee that they will even be afforded automatic Permanent Residency (PR). It has been hinted at and suggested, but without any promise on the table millions of people are stuck in limbo.
Permanent Residency can only be applied for by an EU national with five or more years living in the UK, under current immigration rules. Even then, PR is not guaranteed and a thorough application has to be made. Under the free movement arrangement EU workers don’t have to opt for or worry about this unless they choose to. But if Brexit suddenly brings in demands of visas and working visas, that could all change.
The end result of this is a large number of people unable to make any long term plans for their career, any promotion into higher level of employment, and so on. Don’t we want an ambitious and driven workforce? Don’t we want people who are committed to giving their all to the country? After all, this pays back into the economy and serves everyone well in the end.
Permanent Residency or British Citizenship?
We have already seen reports of people having lived and worked for twenty or thirty years in the UK, even with Permanent Residency in place, suddenly panicking and apply for British Citizenship in a hurry because they don’t know if PR will be enough after Brexit. However, this suddenly means they are hit with high fees for applications and having to attend ceremonies. See our blog: “Brexit and British Citizenship: a Compatibility Crisis?
This situation leads to further tensions with UK residents who already reside and work here, and all the other Brits who claim “they are taking our jobs.” Perhaps it is about time that more respect is shown for people who could have taken their skills to other countries, but instead brought them to the UK. Theresa May and the UK government can’t have it both ways – they can’t vote to leave the EU and then control EU people in this manner. It’s basically just not fair.
Especially not when EU nationals didn’t get a vote in the referendum.
If you would like to find out more about Permanent Residency (PR) click here.