The impact of the UK-EU agreement on residence rights for EU families

29 March 2018

EU citizens and their family members living in the UK under EU law have been very concerned about the nature and quality of their rights of future residence in the UK following Brexit. Despite blithe assurances from some quarters these concerns are both understandable and well founded. There are a number of serious problems facing EU families in the UK after Brexit.

What will happen to an EU citizen who cannot produce evidence of past residence? What happens to those who miss the deadline for applying? Should a child whose future lies in the UK be registered as British if that means losing the citizenship of the country of origin of one or both parents? What will happen to the children of EU citizens living in the UK who are entitled to British citizenship but cannot prove it because their parents either never had or did not keep the paperwork to prove it? What does it mean to belong to a family where one parent has one nationality, another has a second and the children have a third? What is the impact on such a family and where should they go if one of its members is deported?

The consequences for children are severe. Children will be wholly dependent on their parents to apply for the new types of status. Where parents fail to do so, or for some reason do not qualify, children will lose their lawful status under EU law and drift unknowingly into illegality.

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The views expressed in this research paper are those of the authors and not necessarily those of the UK in a Changing Europe initiative.

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