By Oshin Shahiean, of OTS Solicitors
Oshin Shahiean is a founding partner at OTS Solicitors. He has years of experience in Immigration law and has handled hundreds of applications from EEA nationals for permanent residence Cards. Oshin is also regularly called on to provide expert opinion on television and print media, both in the UK and internationally.
OTS Solicitors is a Legal 500 recommended law firm, and we have won numerous other awards for our immigration services (including a Global Excellence Award for the Most Trusted in Immigration law). My team and I regularly advise and represent EEA nationals who are facing difficulties obtaining an EU permanent residence Card.
The decision by the UK to leave the European Union has left many EEA nationals who live and work in the UK feeling incredibly vulnerable. Eight months after Article 50 was triggered, a move that officially notified the EU that the UK would exit, the rights of EEA citizens residing in the UK is still yet to be formalised.
The Home Office has also admitted it is struggling to recruit the staff required to process the surge in applications received over the past eighteen months from EEA nationals for EU permanent residenceCards.
EU permanent residence Cards – how to apply
To successfully obtain an EU permanent residence Card you must have lived in the UK lawfully and continuously for at least five years.
For an EEA national to reside legally in another EU state, you must have been exercising your EU Treaty rights. To do this, you need to show you have been in one of the following categories for five continuous years;
- economically self-sufficient, i.e., a stay at home spouse or retired person not living on benefits
Each EU country may have additional requirements for an EU national’s residence to be considered legal. In the UK, if you are exercising your Treaty rights as a student or self-sufficient person, you will need comprehensive sickness insurance.
Around 28% of EU permanent residence Cards are refused. This is usually because the 85-page form has not been filled out correctly or the required supporting documents have not been included.
Unfortunately, in some cases, the supporting documents are simply not available. EEA nationals who are exercising their Treaty rights as self-employed persons often have not kept the required self-assessment forms or a list of invoices to cover the entire five-year period. Employed EEA citizens often struggle to collate five-years’ worth of payslips and employment contracts, because, prior to June 2016, when the EU referendum was held, keeping these documents was not required. This is because an EU permanent residence Card does not confer any new rights on the holder, it simply documents rights that already exist. Under EU law, any EU citizen who has been lawfully exercising their Treaty rights in another EU state for five or more years automatically gains Permanent Residency status. Therefore, prior to the Brexit referendum, few EEA nationals bothered to obtain a permanent residence Card unless they wished to apply for British Citizenship.
At OTS Solicitors, we have an almost 100% success rate in having EU permanent residence Card applications approved. Our solicitors will take the time to sit down with you and listen to any concerns you have about any ‘holes’ in your application or supporting documentation. If we believe there is no possibility that an EU permanent residence Card will be granted to you, we will be upfront and honest about this fact. We will then advise you on the steps you need to take to meet the eligibility criteria.
However, if all that is required is a letter explaining your situation, we will write this up and attach it to your application. In a majority of cases, this letter is enough to ensure the Home Office grants our client their permanent residence Card.
An example of an OTS Solicitors success story
Our client was an EEA national from Poland who entered the UK in 2003. They started to work in 2005 and brought their child, now aged 21 years old, to the UK in 2005. Our client’s partner was a British Citizen and they had been living together since 2005. We were instructed to make an application for a for an EU permanent residence Card. We advised our client to put their child down as a family member in the application, as the child would not have been successful in making an application in their own right. Prior to coming to us, our client went to other law firms and was advised there was no chance of obtaining permanent residence in the UK, as the client was claiming benefits at the time of applying.
We took instructions and submitted to the Home Office that our client was claiming a benefit as a full-time carer to their partner, who had suffered a serious accident which had left them paralysed. In light of the Brexit referendum result, both our client and their child were very concerned, especially given the disability of one of the family members. We gave our client confidence that their application would succeed, and subsequently, the Home Office issued both our client and their child with EU permanent residence Cards.
Our immigration Solicitors in London can provide the best advice and representation in relation to obtaining an EU permanent residence Card and British Citizenship. Our team is friendly, professional and highly responsive and always available to answer our clients’ questions.
OTS Solicitors is one of the most respected immigration law firms in London and is a Legal 500 leading firm. We work with many businesses and individuals, both in the UK and the Middle East. By making an appointment with one of our immigration Solicitors, you can be assured of receiving some of the best legal advice available in the UK today.