Although the UK has voted to leave, today we remain a member of the European Union. Leaving the EU will take some time; there are legal and trade agreements to put in place, including agreements about immigration and free movement.
In the short-term, everything stays the same. David Cameron confirmed immediately after the referendum result that there would be no immediate change for EU citizens living in the UK. However, as we move closer towards having a new leader of the Conservative Party – and therefore a new Prime Minister – there may be a departure from that position. Theresa May, arguably the most likely of the 2 candidates to win the leadership contest – had so far refused to guarantee the rights of European nationals already living in the UK. This means that, if she were to become the next Prime Minister, European nationals could be asked to leave the UK, despite having already lived and worked here.
The best advice for now is to secure evidence of your current rights. If you do not have a residence permit, you can apply for one. If you have exercised your rights in the UK for 5 years, you can apply for a permanent residence card. If you already have a permanent residence card, you can consider applying for British citizenship. Taking those steps now is a sensible idea. While there is an international agreement called the Vienna Convention already in place to protect individuals in circumstances like this, we do not yet know whether the UK will honour that agreement. While we hope that EU citizens who have lived in the UK for a long period will not be asked to leave, unfortunately that remains to be decided.
If you would like further information, please call the reception team on 0161 234 6800.