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It is our pleasure to kick start BRPartners Immigration Advice and Services newsletter, by our head of Immigration Narinder who has a number of years experience in handling Immigration cases. The newsletter will provide an overview of the developments in Immigration law and new case law.
 
The newsletter will be issued each month with time sensitive information being circulated ad hoc. We have attempted to ensure the content is clear and easy to digest. We hope you find the newsletter informative.
BRPartners Immigration Advice & Services
Agreement on rights for EU citizens and their families post 29th March 2019
 
The UK government has reached an agreement with the European Union on citizen’s rights in negotiations on the UK’s withdrawal from the EU. I have set out details below.
 
The agreement reached for EU citizens and their families is:
 
People who, by 29 March 2019, have been continuously and lawfully living here for 5 years will be able to apply to stay indefinitely by getting ‘settled status’. This means they will be free to live here, have access to public funds and services and go on to apply for British citizenship.
 
People who arrive by 29 March 2019, but would not have been living here lawfully for 5 years when we leave the EU, will be able to apply to stay until they have reached the 5-year threshold. They can then also apply for settled status.

Family members who are living with, or join, EU citizens in the UK by 29 March 2019 will also be able to apply for settled status, usually after 5 years in the UK.
 
Close family members (spouses, civil and unmarried partners, dependent children and grandchildren, and dependent parents and grandparents) will be able to join EU citizens after exit, where the relationship existed on 29 March 2019.
 
EU citizens with settled status or temporary permission to stay would have the same access as they currently do to healthcare, pensions and other benefits in the UK.
Applying for settled status vs Permanent residence
 
EU citizens and their family members in the UK will need to apply to secure their status document. Securing settled status would demonstrate that they have permission to continue living and working in the UK. It also proves to employers and public service providers their right to reside in the UK. Under the current rules individuals would apply for permanent residence and the premise is much the same. If individuals have been exercising your treaty rights in the UK for five years as a worker, self employed, student, self sufficient or permanently incapacitated due to a work related injury, then they can apply for permanent residence now.
 
The advantages in waiting to apply for settled status as opposed to permanent residence is that the Home Office has stated the system will be more stream lined and cost no more that the price of a British passport. The current fee for permanent residence is £65.  The Home Office also states that, whereas, at present a student, self-sufficiency person must provide evidence of comprehensive sickness insurance, under settled status they would not have to. However there is a caveat to this, somewhat lenient and flexible approach, the Home Office has taken and in some circumstances, comprehensive sickness insurance will still be required for the purposes of accessing the healthcare system in the UK, but will no longer be considered as a requirement for acquiring settled status.

The disadvantage of waiting is we do not know the exact requirements that will be setout to secure settled status. Although the Home Office has impressed the system will be simpler, I have found that what the Home Office say inevitably varies from the reality of the situation. Considering this, the advantage of applying under the current rules are that we know what the rules are and that individuals status would be protected now.

There will be uncertainty come the 29th March 2019. An individual who applies for permanent residence now would need to switch their permanent residence to the settled status document but this will be free and an administrative procedure as opposed to evidencing five years continuous residence in the UK.

Immigration Health Surcharge

 

The government has announced that the controversial Immigration Health Surcharge paid by individuals for entry clearance or leave to remain will double. The Immigration Health surcharge is a charge paid by individuals who reside or enter into the UK on limited leave to remain under the Immigration rules. The Immigration Health Surcharge affects all Immigration categories and the government has announced a price hike that will see the Immigration Health Surcharge double from £200 to £400 and for students and those on the youth mobility scheme from £150 to £300.

This is not good news for individuals in general as it places even more of a financial burden on individuals but this will have a catastrophic effect on families who are financially struggling already. Individuals whose leave comprises of them meeting the ten year route to settlement will now, not only have to contend with the Home Office yearly fee increase, but also an additional £1000 Immigration Surcharge fee for each extension of leave.

British passport fees to increase
 
The Home Office has outlined plans to introduce different passport fees for online and postal applications. They are to take effect from the 27th March 2018.

Online adult passport applications will cost £75.50 and £49 for children.

Postal applications will increase by £12.50 and will cost £85 for adults and £58.50 for children.
Case law
 
The Court of Justice brings self-employed into line with employed workers.
Rights: Retained worker status.
C-442/16 Gusa 20 December 2017
 
The judgment is good news for self employed EU citizens in the UK who run out of work after being self employed for at least a year and then register as unemployed with Jobcentre centre plus. It is now clear that anyone in this situation retains an extended right of residence as a self-employed person. This means that they meet the right to reside element of the habitual residence test for means tested benefits in the same way as an involuntarily unemployed worker. The usual 91 day time limit and the prohibition on housing benefit associated with jobseekers status does not apply to them.
Regulation 6(4) of the Immigration (European Economic Area) Regulation 2016 will have to be amended, because at the moment it says that a previously self employed person can only retain self employed status if they are temporarily unable to work as a result of an illness or accident. The judgment is also helpful for people who want to establish that they have acquired permanent residence after five years in the UK and need to rely on a period spent in involuntary unemployment following self employment. One potential problem is showing involuntarily unemployment.
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