Thousands of children of EU parents at risk of falling through the cracks of Brexit, University of Birmingham research reveals

The impact of the UK-EU agreement on residence rights for EU families PAGE 1

Thousands EU citizens and their family members living in the UK under EU law are at risk of ‘falling through the cracks’, with their rights of future residence in question after Brexit, Eurochildren researchers say.

In two Eurochildren Research Briefs published today on the impact of the UK-EU agreement on residence and citizenship rights for EU families, barrister Colin Yeo found the nature and quality of rights of many EU citizens and their future residence in the UK would be thrown into question, particularly for children, whose status is dependent on their parents.

The full briefs are available here:

  • The impact of the UK-EU agreement on residence rights for EU families, Eurochildren Research Brief, no. 1
  • The impact of the UK-EU agreement on citizenship rights for EU families, Eurochildren Research Brief, no. 2

The Research Briefs considered two legal scenarios after Brexit:

  • ‘No deal’ scenario, with the UK leaving the EU on 29 March 2019 without a withdrawal agreement and no new laws being passed.
  • Settled status’ scenario, based on the EU-UK withdrawal agreement.

In the former scenario, the default legal position would be that all the people living in the UK under EU law would suddenly become unlawfully resident. This scenario would expose affected individuals to the full force of the UK government’s “hostile environment”, meaning it would immediately become a criminal offence to work in the UK and access to services including healthcare, bank accounts, rented accommodation and more would be restricted.

In the latter, leaving aside that ‘nothing is agreed until everything is agreed’ and assuming that the December agreement is ratified by both parties, a sizeable number of EU families and their children are likely to fall into the cracks of the legal system. The researchers found that while ‘settled status’ would improve the situation for children born after Brexit and reduce the administrative barriers to naturalisation for adult EU citizens, this status would not have a retrospective effect, leaving many in legal limbo.

20 Comments Add yours

  1. Nando Sigona says:

    Reblogged this on Postcards from … and commented:

    We have made the front-page of The Guardian and one of its top stories, much more to come out of soon


  2. Mike Krus says:

    Hi, my family and I are French but have been living in Scotland for the past 13 years. All kids were born in France, the oldest was 8 when we moved here.
    Now we don’t know what to do.
    I myself now have dual citizenship (I was automatically allowed to become British since I was born to a British mother before 1983).
    But we’ve decided to wait and see for my wife and 3 kids. Mostly because the current procedure is expensive, complicated, borderline humiliating.
    The current talks about settle status are encouraging, except for the children. There’s no mention of what kind of justification they would need to provide. In particular the ones over 18 who have been studying. My oldest is 21 and will finish uni soon. She’s thinking of spending a couple years working abroad, will she be allowed back?
    It’s all insane.

    Liked by 1 person

  3. Alex says:

    There is one additional type of family not described in the brief, i.e. a lone Non EU parent relying on the EU law through the retained right of residence, with EU citizen children. I find myself exactly in this situation, and it is completely unclear to me what will happen to us after Brexit, and the legal advice I have received so far has been, to put it mildly, contradictory. On one hand, I currently have my retained right by the virtue of being the sole carer of the EU citizen children post divorce… on another, it reads like it is no longer sufficient as the children will need to rely on some sort of a derived right themselves?

    Liked by 1 person

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