British officials have made detailed statements about the situation of Romanians living or going to travel to the UK after Brexit.
British officials provided a series of clarifications to Romanians in the UK during two sessions of discussions held in Manchester and London by the British Embassy in Bucharest with representatives of the Romanian communities in the United Kingdom on 11 and 15 February.
The discussions had as main subject the clarification of the post-Brexit European citizens’ situation, including access to benefits or settled status and the specific application and registration process in the system. Representatives of the Embassy of Romania in London, the Ministry for Romanians Abroad and officials from the UK Ministry of the Interior and the UK Outgoing Department of the EU were part of the dialogue.
During the session in the capital, hosted by ICR London, Romanians representatives were invited to Manchester and London to participate at the discussion. The British government wants Romanian citizens to understand how important they are to the country they chose to live in and to give them clarity about their lives in the UK after March 29, 2019, when the UK is about to leave the European Union with or without an agreement with Brussels.
The UK withdrawal agreement in the EU will provide security to the 400,000 Romanians living in the United Kingdom in connection with the perpetuation of their rights. The agreement will allow European citizens in the UK and British citizens in the EU to continue living the same way they did in the countries they chose to live in.
Most of the questions raised by the Romanians representatives, including the term “settled status” – or permanent residence status – that can be requested and obtained by a European citizen who has lived and worked for five years in the United Kingdom. British officials have explained that this scheme is not a visa system and that obtaining this status is a simple online process, which its purpose is to not reject applications but to grant residence. At the same time, Romanians were assured that they would be able to travel to the UK on the basis of their passport or identity card, regardless of whether the United Kingdom is leaving the EU with or without consent.
Children are included in the approach and receive the same rights as their parents. Moreover, British officials assured that if one of the parents has a better status in the UK, then the child will also have the same rights as the parent with a more favorable status. Proof of residence can be done in many ways, including by presenting a doctor appointment or a flight ticket. The UK Ministry of the Interior will also pay special attention to vulnerable groups (homeless people, exploited persons, trafficking victims, etc.).
There are two types of status for European citizens. The first type is Settled Status, and European citizens who have resided in the UK for five consecutive or longer years will be eligible for this status. Those who obtain this status will retain the same rights as they currently have: the right to work, the right to study, the right to access the British and social security systems throughout the UK for an unlimited period.
The second type is Pre-Settled Status and states that Europeans residing in the UK for less than 5 consecutive years will be eligible for Pre-Settled Status. Those who receive Pre-Settled Status will be able to live in the UK for a 5-year period that will allow them time to qualify for Settled Status. Those who obtain the pre-Settled Status will retain the same rights as they currently have – the right to work, the right to study, the right to access the UK medical and social security system in the UK – but after the 5 years of continuous stay, they must apply for Settled Status, which is not automatically granted.
Applicants for the new status must provide general information about them and declare their criminal history, stating that only serious and / or persistent criminal history would affect the request.
According to estimates, approximately 1.7 million people in Central and Eastern Europe live and work in the UK, of which are about 400,000 Romanians, according to official data.