What Is Permanent Residence And How Can I Apply?

Diversity Voice is delighted to have forged a partnership with Simpson Millar Solicitors to support the thousands of European nationals in our region who are faced with uncertain and difficult choices following the Brexit decision.

No-one yet knows how the position for European nationals will change in the next few years and post Brexit. We are keen to find out whether there is anything that European nationals can do now to protect themselves from possible future changes.
We are talking with expert immigration solicitor Luke Piper from Simpson Millar’s Bristol Office, who has answered some of the most pressing questions that European nationals have about permanent residency and British Citizenship.
1. What is permanent residence?
Permanent residence is a status that European nationals secure once they have five years' residence in the United Kingdom. They must have been living in the UK as a worker, self-employed person, student with comprehensive sickness insurance, or self-sufficient person with comprehensive sickness insurance.
They may have also been a job seeker for short periods of time. Permanent residence is acquired automatically. A permanent residence card only confirms a person’s permanent residence status.

2. If it is automatic, do people really need to apply for a permanent residence card?
People should not feel that they have to apply for a permanent residence card. However, it would be wise to apply for one now just to check that there are no problems with securing permanent residence. If there are problems, it would be better to find out about these now and to take steps to resolve them, than to wait for the Brexit process to unfold.
We are finding that many people do not just want permanent residence – they would like to secure British Citizenship. Amongst other requirements, a person must have held permanent residence for 12 months before they can apply for British Citizenship. Since November 2015 it has been compulsory to provide a permanent residence card with an application for British Citizenship. For this reason, many people are asking us to complete their permanent residence and British Citizenship applications for them.
3. You mention problems – what kind of problems are people facing?
Nationals of Accession Countries, the largest population in the UK being from Poland, needed to hold Worker Authorisation for the first 12 months of their residence as a worker in the United Kingdom. We see many clients who were either unaware of the requirement or held Worker Authorisation but did not hold it for 12 months or did not think they needed it because they thought they were self-employed when in fact they were employed. When this happens, any residence to April 2011 will not count towards permanent residence. As we are now over 5 years from April 2011, this is not always a significant issue as people may still have acquired permanent residence since April 2011.
One issue we are seeing is that the Home Office is making the applications much more difficult. They have lengthened the form so that it runs to almost 90 pages. We have heard that the Home Office is more likely to refuse if people do not send exactly the right documents.
The single most significant problem that people face is this issue about comprehensive sickness insurance. It is a requirement for students and self-sufficient people to hold comprehensive sickness insurance. If they do not, then their residence will not count for permanent residence. This particularly affects long-term students, stay at home parents, and carers. People need specialist advice if they are in this situation.

4. Why it is important to get support from an immigration lawyer?
The application is now very complicated. If mistakes are made, the fee is non-refundable. You will have to wait several months for a decision. If a mistake has been made, you will have lost valuable time. If you have a problem with your residence, it is better to find out sooner rather than later. An immigration lawyer can help, as can a local community advisor. When choosing an advisor it is important to check that they are a specialist and that they are regulated either by The Law Society, as Simpson Millar is, or by the OISC for non-solicitor advisors. This can be checked here https://www.gov.uk/find-an-immigration-adviser/search-for-an-adviser.
5. How can we help?
In collaboration with Diversity voice, Luke runs regular immigration clinics in Bridgwater for EU citizens hoping to apply for permanent residence. The first clinics will run as follows:
Saturday 1st April: 10.30 am – 1 pm
Friday 28th April: 10.30 am – 2.30 pm
Friday 26th May: 10.30 am – 2.30 pm
Saturday 24th June: 10.30 am – 1 pm
Call 03000 750105 or email This email address is being protected from spambots. You need JavaScript enabled to view it.to arrange an appointment.

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