BREAKING: Brexit Visa Rush – Can The Home Office Cope?
According to recent research done by Oxford University’s Migration Observatory, the processing of so many applications in a short timeframe would be a ‘formidable task’.
Despite the rhetoric of ‘let’s see, shall we’ from Prime Minister Theresa May, when asked about the rights of the 3.5 million EU nationals currently living in the UK, it is widely expected and desired by most MPs that their residency status will be preserved in the event of Brexit. However, once we formally leave the EU, (two years after Article 50 is triggered), then employers, landlords and public officials may start demanding to see proof that EU nationals have a right to live and work in the UK.
This would mean providing all EU nationals with documentation to show they have a right to be in the UK.
Can the Home Office cope with such an influx of applications?
The Home Office currently processes around 25,500 permanent residence applications a year from European citizens and their family members. A significant backlog could be created if there was a rush to register 140 more than this in a short timeframe. There simply isn’t the staff or the processing procedures in place to cope with such a number.
At present, the form to apply for a permanent residence Card is 85 pages long. Many applicants are rejected, often because they do not seek legal advice before putting in an application, and some groups are unaware they must have mandatory “comprehensive sickness insurance” before a permanent residence Card will be granted. Self-employed EU nationals may also have difficulty proving how long they have been in the country.
Barbara Roche, chair of the Migration Matters Trust and a former Labour Immigration minister, told the Financial Times that she knew first hand what a “huge challenge” this was going to pose to the Home Office. “Resources are already overstretched, so this is going to be one of the biggest logistical obstacles that the department has ever faced.”
The FT also quoted the Home Office as saying:“The only circumstances in which that wouldn’t be possible is if British citizens’ rights in European member states were not protected in return. We are about to begin these negotiations and it would be wrong to set out further unilateral positions in advance. But there is clearly no mandate for accepting the free movement of people as it has existed up until now.”
OTS Solicitors is a London based Immigration, Employment and litigation firm. We are recognised throughout the UK as experts in Immigration law. Please contact our London office on 0203 959 9123 to make an appointment with one of our team if you wish to apply for a permanent residence Card or British Citizenship