While we all knew that the coronavirus would impact on the scheduled trade talks between the UK and the EU, few of us expected the negotiations to be directly affected by a virus that has now claimed more than 10,000 lives across the globe.
However, it has recently been announced that both the UK and the EU’s Chief Negotiators are self-isolating after showcasing symptoms of the virus, although David Frost and Michel Barnier thought to be recovering well.
There’s no doubt that this could dramatically impact the timeline for the scheduled talks, potentially forcing UK PM Boris Johnson to delay his initial deadline of December 31st. This would create further uncertainty for EU citizens residing in the UK, particularly those with children who were born on these shores.
Your Updated Guide to British Citizenship
Under the previous Freedom of Movement clause included as part of EU membership, blended families including EU citizens and children born in the UK were fully protected and entitled to live on these shores.
However, such individuals are likely to need key documentation to reside in the UK once the existing transition period has ended, whether this is on December 31st or some point in the formative months of 2021.
The reason for this is simple; as the Brexit process has coincided with the launch of an increasingly hostile immigration policy in the UK, and one that could impact directly even on British-born children belonging to EU residents if they fail to secure the necessary documentation before the transition period ends.
More specifically, the Home Office could resort to relatively draconian measures for residents without such paperwork, even those that have been previously safeguarded by the Freedom of Movement.
These could include the closure of named bank accounts and the cancellation of UK driving licenses, along with the withdrawal and cessation of job offers or employment opportunities.
This is according to a paper published by immigration law experts at the University of Birmingham, which confirmed that the consequences for those who have failed to obtain full British citizenship for them and their children could be severe in 2021.
Of course, this only applies to families where neither of the child’s two parents are British, but that applies to a large number of households nationwide across the UK.
How to Safeguard Yourself and Your Family
While parents may not need to register or obtain documentation to remain in the UK after the transition period, it’s clear that they and their child will need concrete proof that they remain legal residents in the future.
So, although there’s no immediate need to panic, it’s important to realise the true extent of the circumstances and take proactive steps towards safeguarding your rights in the longer-term.
Your first port of call should be to liaise with expert immigration lawyers, who have access to the very latest news and are able to provide you with advice that’s tailored to your precise circumstances.
From here, you can identify the key documentation that you’ll require and secure this as soon as possible, and in time for the transition period to end (whenever this may be).