There is some confusion about the UK visa situation of European Union workers in Britain following last week’s Brexit vote.
The vote leave campaign said in the run-up to the referendum that new immigration measures that would be introduced in the event of a vote to leave the EU would not affect the residency rights of EU workers already in the UK. Its website said they would “automatically be granted indefinite leave to remain in the UK and will be treated no less favourably than they are at present”.
However, there are concerns that this may not be the case. Rights for EU workers resident in Britain at the moment are likely to be part of the negotiations for Britain’s departure from the union.
European law specialist Sionaidh Douglas-Scott, professor of law at Queen Mary University of London, told The Guardian: “There is no cast-iron guarantee on acquired rights in the event Britain leaves the EU.
“If you leave the EU you are no longer a member of the club that gives you those rights.”
Experts believe that it’s likely EU workers will need documents to prove they have leave to remain in the UK. They will need more than their passport as proof they have the right to work in the UK and access services such as the NHS and education, and also if they wish to remain in Britain on retiring from work.
This could be an issue for EU citizens who have lived and worked in the UK for a couple of decades, if they have not kept all the paperwork associated with their employment, such as P60s.
But for the moment, the situation is very much a wait and see what happens with the Brexit negotiations. The UK will not formally divorce itself from the EU for at least two years.