Naturalisation and Citizenship for EEA Nationals: What Next?
It has been well-documented that there has been a surge in applications for Irish passports in the wake of the Brexit referendum result. Those who were unhappy with the outcome, and who were desperate to retain the rights and benefits of EU citizenship have not been slow to act. As with much else, it remains to be seen what effect the Brexit vote will have in terms of the number of those EEA nationals moving in what could be summarised as the opposite direction, and applying for UK naturalisation and British Citizenship.
If nothing else, the fact that the Irish authorities were seemingly deluged with applications from unhappy post-Brexit Brits points to the very real effects that the UK’s impending separation from the EU is liable to have on immigration matters. For the time being, it should be remembered that the UK Border authorities are working on a ‘business as normal’ footing. Until any definitive political steps are made the laws that apply to matters of immigration are the same ones that stood before the referendum was held.
Pre Referendum Surge
If the trend that marked the run up to the referendum is maintained, then applications for UK citizenship are set to maintain a higher than usual level – at least until the current indeterminate position is clarified. As the Financial Times reported on March 21st continental Europeans resident in the UK were ‘rushing’ to ratify their rights to remain in the UK. April 1st saw the Sun, The Times and the Express all run with similar stories. The key figure, obtained by the Times in a freedom of information request, was a rise in applications for citizenship from EEA nationals from 4,179 in the third quarter of 2015 to 5,245 between October and December. That equates to an increase of 26%.
It seems certain that there will be changes to the way naturalisation and British Citizenship for EEA nationals is granted in the years ahead. Quite when they will come into effect is considerably less clear-cut. Likewise, how those changes will impact on the UK’s overall migration figures (out as well as in) is a matter that we cannot reliably predict.
YDVISAS specialise in all visa categories and are specialist immigration lawyers in the UK. Please contact the expert team at YDVISAS, should you need any professional help with your visa application.