When is the right time to question a medical decision?
With less than four months to go until the UK leaves the European Union (EU), we still don’t know what deal, if any, the UK will have with the EU.
A big part of that deal relates to securing the rights of the more than 3 million EEA citizens living in the UK. While the Government has confirmed their intention to roll out the proposed Settled Status scheme regardless as to whether the withdrawal agreement is approved, those seeking greater certainty about their status and who are eligible, are looking to naturalise as British citizens. For some Europeans, the decision to naturalise is a simple one. For others, it may mean giving up their existing nationality.
German nationals are in a unique position as they are only permitted to have a second nationality if the country is also in the EU. In view of the exceptional circumstances of Brexit, the German government has agreed that their nationals who become British before the UK leaves the EU can retain both nationalities. In the event of no deal and no transition period, that means that Germans who want the chance of securing a British passport are under a tight timeframe to become British by March 2019!
For me, this is a personal as well as a professional issue. My mother moved to London from a small town in Germany in October 1975. At just 19 years old, she was looking for an adventure. She never planned to stay long-term but she secured a job, met my father and started a family, and 43 years later proudly calls this city her home.
As an EU national exercising her Treaty rights in the UK through employment, she never thought it necessary to take steps to secure her right of residency. This complacency changed when the UK voted to leave the EU in June 2016. As with many German nationals who have settled in the UK, she suddenly became concerned about her status and what this would be post-Brexit. It was for this reason that she has decided to act now and apply for a document which confirms her permanent residence status, and to then apply for British citizenship.
Germany only allows dual nationality with other EU states, which means that Germans who want to become British after we leave the EU on 29 March 2019, will have to renounce their German citizenship. This is likewise the case for British citizens who want to become German.
The German cabinet approved a bill in September, however, which would allow German citizens who apply for British citizenship (and vice versa) before the end of the Brexit transition period (30 March 2019 to 31 December 2020), to be able to hold dual nationality. This is the case even if the decision on their citizenship application is made after the transition period. If this law is passed by the German parliament, it will come into force on 30 March 2019.
This is not necessarily the case if we leave the EU without a withdrawal agreement, however, so until things become more certain, our advice to German citizens wanting to apply for British citizenship is that they need to try to become British by 29 March 2019.
The first step for a German national is to see whether they have acquired permanent residence status in the UK and to obtain confirmation of this. Full details on this can be found in our previous update: “Brexit – what EU citizens living in the UK need to know”.
Although a new Settled Status scheme is being rolled out, which will require you to apply to swap your residence card for pre-settled status, our advice to German nationals who haven’t yet confirmed their residence status would be to apply now, rather than post 29 March 2019, as it provides an extra layer of security once we are no longer part of the EU.
Once you have confirmed your permanent residence status, you can then apply to naturalise as a British citizen. Our previous blog outlines the requirements you need to meet in order to naturalise as a British citizen; you can find this here. The naturalisation process can take up to around six months for a decision to be made, and British citizenship is not actually confirmed until after you attend a Citizenship ceremony. Given the risk of no deal, we are therefore suggesting any German nationals who want to become British apply as a matter of urgency, and that representations are made explaining the importance of the application being considered on an expedited basis. While this can’t be guaranteed, we are hopeful that these applications may be prioritised if the threat of no deal increases.
As we get closer to 29 March 2019, we will all be anxiously waiting to see whether a deal is secured or not. Whatever happens however, my mother will be comforted by the fact that she can safely call herself both German and British.
For further information on the issues raised in this blog post, please contact a member of our immigration team.
Perhaps the first practical negative consequence for the UK to emerge “Beyond Brexit” from an extradition perspective relates to Article 83 of the TCA which allows EU Member States to refuse to extradite their own nationals to the UK. Germany, Austria and Slovenia had already exercised the Nationality bar during the transition period, which ended on 31 December 2020.
The potential fallout from Brexit for extradition and cross-border criminal justice security had been forewarned even before the first vote was cast in the Referendum. The risks to the UK of losing access to SIS II and complicating a relatively simple (albeit not perfect) EAW process were highlighted by many practitioners, law enforcement agencies and politicians.
Deal or no deal, when the UK’s transition agreement expires at 11pm on 31 December 2020 the country will no longer participate in EU sanctions arrangements or otherwise give effect to EU sanctions regimes. Instead, it will operate a two tier system, devising its own sanctions policies and measures which will be supplemented by sanctions measures imposed as a result of United Nations Security Council Resolutions.
The Internal Market Bill (the “Bill”) has caused a dramatic fallout at home and abroad. It has faced massive defeats in the House of Lords over the month on November. It was the reported reason behind the UK’s most senior legal civil servant announcing his departure from the Government Legal Service.
As the end of the Brexit transition period draws near, complexities associated with navigating cross-border regulatory regimes have been increasingly brought to the fore. The Law Society of Ireland’s announcement last week, confirming a ‘physical presence’ requirement for solicitors intending to practise in Ireland, has highlighted wider post-Brexit issues surrounding residency requirements and recognition of qualifications for regulated professionals on the British/Irish border.
The Supreme Court recently made clear in Villiers v Villiers  UKSC 30 that divorcing in one EU country does not prevent a party from making a separate claim for maintenance from their spouse in England and Wales. The case therefore demonstrates the possibility of ‘forum shopping’, where a party seeks to bring a financial claim in a jurisdiction (country) that is more convenient or provides a more generous maintenance provision than the jurisdiction in which the divorce is taking place. However, the loophole relies on an application of the EU Maintenance Regulation which will cease to be in force in the UK on 31 December 2020. This blog considers the case of Villiers and how Brexit will affect the current position.
Friday 13 December 2019 will be remembered as the day the Conservatives won their biggest majority since the 1980s and finally obtained the dominance required to complete the Article 50 process and take the UK out of the EU.
At the time of writing, the UK is on the cusp of a General Election where Brexit is high on the agenda. In this blog, Stacey Nevin considers a number of scenarios and the changes that people who have connections with England and another EU member state might encounter for divorces, financial proceedings and matters concerning children in the event of a no deal Brexit.
At the time of writing, it is possible that the UK could exit the EU on 31 October 2019 (“exit date”) without a deal which means immediately leaving EU institutions such as the European Court of Justice without an agreement over what happens next.
Everyone has an opinion on yesterday’s decision of the UK Supreme Court. Boris Johnson said on television that he profoundly disagreed with it. Jacob Rees-Mogg reportedly called it a ‘constitutional coup’ on a cabinet conference call. Former Lord Chancellor Michael Gove was distinctly equivocal about it when interviewed on the Today programme. Laura Kuenssberg reported on Twitter that a No 10 source said ‘the Supreme Court is wrong and has made a serious mistake in extending its reach into these political matters’. The fact these people all claim they will still ‘respect’ the decision does not detract from the corrosiveness of their sentiments.
The prorogation judicial reviews concerned the constitutional equilibrium between government, parliament and the courts. Today, an 11 member UK Supreme Court panel affirmed its centuries-old supervisory jurisdiction over acts of government and ruled unanimously that Boris Johnson’s government failed to advance any reasonable justification for proroguing parliament. The prorogation was therefore unlawful and ‘never happened’ so parliament is back in the game.
Tucked in between the “reasonable worst-case” scenarios for food, trade and fuel is a stark one liner: “Law enforcement and information sharing between U.K. and EU will be disrupted”. The reduction in capability of law enforcement agencies that will come from a no deal will, according to government documents, be accompanied by an increase in cross-border crime.
Scotland’s highest court and a senior divisional court of the High Court in England and Wales have reached opposite conclusions about whether the recent decision to prorogue parliament was lawful.
Katie Newbury discusses the implications of a no-deal Brexit on free movement and the impact on Europeans living in the UK.
The suspension of parliament yesterday, at time of political crisis, is now the subject of intense legal scrutiny across the United Kingdom. Lawyers for Gina Miller have lodged an application for judicial review, and are expected to argue that Boris Johnson’s advice to the Queen is an improper use of power, designed to curtail the legislature, resulting in infringement of the constitutional bedrock of parliamentary sovereignty.
The full launch of the EU Settlement Scheme on 30 March 2019 was a welcome development for many EEA nationals. However, whilst the EU Settlement Scheme has been generally well-received, glitches in the system are materialising.
As we head into the summer months, spare a thought for overworked UK farmers who at the peak of the harvesting season are struggling to recruit the workers they need. The National Farmers’ Union has long been lobbying hard for added flexibility in recruitment of non-EEA nationals given the growth in the sector.
Focussing upon US companies considering their privacy policies and procedures in Silicon Valley and beyond, in this blog we consider the geographic scope of GDPR and the core business functions it impacts upon.
As if there wasn’t enough to think about in advance of ‘Brexit day’, spouses with English pensions who are divorcing or have recently divorced abroad must take a moment to consider the potential impact of the UK’s exit from the EU on their ability to share such pensions.
At the time of writing it is not clear whether the UK will be leaving the European Union on the basis of the Withdrawal Agreement, a No Deal scenario or whether indeed Article 50 will be extended for a period. What is clear, however, is that there are serious concerns that law enforcement co-operation will be significantly hampered due to Brexit compared to the current regime.
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