EU nationals are going through 85 pages of hell to claim their right to remain

In the atmosphere of increasing tension as we enter the month of triggering Article 50, the  government faces at least a temporary defeat in the Lords over the status of EU nationals. Peers are unlikely to accept home secretary Amber Rudd’s claim in a letter to each peer that:

a guarantee of EU nationals’  right to stay, however “well-intentioned”, would not help the hundreds of thousands of UK citizens living on the continent as it could leave them in potential limbo if reciprocal assurances were not given by the EU’s 27 other member states.

She said there was “absolutely no question of treating EU citizens with anything other than the utmost respect”.

“This isn’t just about ensuring British businesses and our public sector have access to the right workers,” she wrote.

“We owe it to those many European citizens who have contributed so much to this country to resolve this issue as soon as possible and give them the security they need to continue to contribute to this country.”

Given that, should not EU nationals not at least wait and see what happens? Not so it seems. The FT (£) reveals the bureaucratic nightmare many of them are going through already.


 Changes in the system of claiming their right to remain in GB  whatever happens in the Brexit negotiations now requires each of them to fill in an 85 page form, rather than present simplicity of  automatic entitlement to permanent residency after five years, according to an FT report
EU membership has for decades guaranteed the bloc’s citizens the right to live and work in Britain. But with that set to end after the UK voted in June to leave the EU, permanent residency is a legal lifeline that many of the 3m Europeans living in Britain are now reaching for. It re-establishes those same rights under UK law. It is also a prerequisite to apply for British citizenship. Short of that, many panicky applicants seem to believe such status will at least put them at the head of the queue for a work permit or some other legal protection after the UK leaves the bloc.
But doing so means confronting an onerous application and overstretched bureaucracy that is heaping frustration — and hefty legal fees — on many long-time UK residents. “There are 85 pages to fill in and they ask the same thing over and over again but in a way you never know what the right answer is,” complained Marta Grabinska, who has been waiting six months for a reply.

Ms Jozefkowicz, who estimated she spends about two weeks preparing each application, agreed it was “quite confusing”, adding: “For somebody who speaks little English it’s impossible.” The eastern European resource centre charges just £50 beyond the £65 application fee for each family member. Private lawyers and a growing rank of informal “advisers” are charging immigrants anywhere from £200 to £1,000. Anger over such costs has prompted an online petition with more than 26,000 signatures. For some professionals, no amount of money is worth the aggravation. “When someone asks me for help with this I don’t even mention the price — I just say ‘no’ because I know this is going to be a nightmare,” said Sebastian Derwisinski, a Pole who owns a Northampton accountancy firm, Renaissance The Partners, with his wife Malgorzata. They spent two weeks preparing their own permanent residency application right after the June referendum. “That was the trigger,” he recalled. “We wanted to make sure everything would be smooth after Brexit.” The application, whose guidance notes alone run to 18 pages, was only instituted in late 2015. Before that, an EU national was simply deemed a permanent resident after five years living continuously in the UK.

The Home Office said no applicant was required to complete all 85 pages, and that it was working to make the process “quicker and easier”. Many EU nationals can now apply online.

And going in the other direction ..

The number of Irish students applying to study in the UK has dropped by about 20 per cent since the Brexit vote last year.

Concerns among Northern Irish students which emerge in the report include restrictions on access to the Erasmus programme and their right to an Irish – and EU – passport.

The consultation includes stakeholders who work with or for young people, such as the ISPCC, the youth wings of political parties and representatives from the Ombudsman for Children and the Northern Ireland Commissioner for Children and Young People.

They underline the importance of protecting the Belfast Agreement and the need to prioritise measures to address the loss of EU citizenship by young people in the North,



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  • Conchúr Ó Conghaile

    Brexit is going to really bad for Higher Education in Northern Ireland. It’ll make it far harder to get International students to study in our institutions and they are a vital revenue stream for universities. Brexit might also cut NI universities from EU funding streams and grants which are vital for research.

  • Dan

    Alongside those 85 pages, there should be a hefty application fee too.
    I’d say £1000.

  • Zorin001

    Moving forward in a spirit of charity and communality I see?

  • Hugh Quigley

    A Guardian article giving a personal perspective on the difficulties already being experienced in these applications:

  • rg

    Nobody apparently gives a toss about UK nationals living in the EU. Not a word about them, but lots of ‘useless fools’ {as Stalin called them} hyping up this issue. The dogs in the street know that they will be treated just the same after Brexit.

  • Paul Hagan

    In fact there’s quite a lot of uncertainty about British nationals living in the rest of the EU, I’ve already heard a great deal of discussion and very little clarity. More will undoubtedly come but very little is known for certain. None of them know how they will be treated once the UK formally leaves the EU, but my guess is we won’t know for sometime and it ought to be reciprocal.

  • lizmcneill

    Yup, another of NI’s few employment sectors about to be sent down the tubes by Brexit.

  • Zorin001

    I’ve seen a lot myself Paul and its like you say, a lot of discussion but no-one really knows whats going to happen moving forward.

    But if the UK wants to use EU nationals as bargaining chips they can’t complain if the EU reciprocates in kind.

  • Am Ghobsmacht

    Some of us will just reach for our Irish passports.

    Is that the apotheosis of Irish citizenship and likelihood of a ‘yes’ vote in the event of a border poll I hear?

    Yes it is.

  • Korhomme

    How do you justify such a fee?

  • Zorin001

    A globalised world means a more connected world, its more and more common to see people with EU national wives, husbands, partners etc. My financee is Spanish for example and I know a number of people with partners from Poland and Hungary, some with Children. Thats only here in Northern Ireland, i’m sure theres a hefty number in mainland GB too.

    So for many there is going to be a very real fear of familes being split apart and the spectre of long distance relationships, or the end of such relationships. I don’t have children yet. I can’t even think what it would be like to worry about that. Some will say thats scaremongering but until June last year its something none of us ever had to think about.

    Theresa May and her ilk are playing games with peoples lives and happiness, I think continuing this ambiguity is ethically suspect and cruel.

  • Dan

    We’ve been taken for mugs for too,long.
    I think i’m right, though open to correction, there’s a hefty fee to apply to settle in the likes of Australia.

  • hgreen

    Well the DUP said they don’t care and that’s who a lot of people will be voting for tomorrow. If you don’t vote tomorrow for an anti Brexit politician or can’t be arsed to get off the sofa you deserve all the hardship coming your way.

  • Korhomme

    What is done in Oz has no relevance to what’s done in UK.

    Mugs? You mean people who come to the UK and do jobs that the Brits won’t, pay their due taxes, make no claim on the state? Unlike all the retirees on the Costa del fish ‘n’ chips who get the Spanish to do their medical care?

  • grumpy oul man

    Wait till the young healthy EU nationals are put out, we lose the taxs they pay and get all those elderly ex pats to put more stress on hospitals and social services.
    Good deal for us there.

  • Brian Walker

    You chose just the right nom de plume!

  • Reader

    Korhomme: …get the Spanish to do their medical care?
    …and the British Government to pay for it.
    Specifically, for pensioners: “If you are living in an EEA country or Switzerland and you receive an exportable UK pension, contribution-based Employment Support Allowance or another exportable benefit, you may be entitled to state healthcare
    paid for by the UK. You will need to apply for a certificate of
    entitlement known as an S1 form.”

  • Korhomme

    “You may be entitled”

    And you expect the facilities to exist; you only pay fr the care within them.

  • Kevin Breslin

    The UK bargaining chip stance is totally for their home audience.

    The U.K. Government cares more about bankers selling their services in a lopsided migration system than it cares for its expats or EU workers.

    There is really no evidence to suggest the European Union won’t accept reasonable bilateral arrangement as it has done with Switzerland.

    However it has become politically necessary for the United Kingdom to raise tensions about the European Union, it cannot unite the country through compassion, it needs fear to try to assert a united front of sorts.

    The U.K. didn’t want to leave the European Union for quid pro quo, if quid pro quo happens I could see incitement to violence from those wanting to Leave and get some sort of win out of things.

  • Hugh Davison

    As long as they’re chipped and have the rabies jab they should be OK.

  • Reader

    Korhomme, I don’t know why you emphasised “may”. If the pensioners are not entitled to Spanish healthcare paid for by the UK they will have to pay for it themselves, which doesn’t help your case at all. The EU isn’t a Utopia, and the UK wasn’t a freeloader.
    Also, I have no idea why you are emphasising the distinction between capital and ongoing spend – charges are always based on both. If the Spanish went for PFI, the distinction doesn’t even exist.

  • Brian O’Neill

    EU students maybe but at queens they get a lot of Asian and American students. I am against brexit but it could make NI very attractive for non EU students.

    A master’s in America can cost $60k. You can get one at queens for $17k. A huge saving.

  • Brian O’Neill

    That leave to remain process is a nightmare. A friend has a PhD and even she managed to screw it up. It costs hundreds to apply and I think when you make a mistake you need to pay the fee again to resubmit.