Donna Martin, a partner at one of London’s leading mid-tier law firms, Mackrell Turner Garrett has shared her views on the Government’s Brexit plans for EU citizens currently residing in the UK and warns that significant changes could be just on the horizon.

Donna believes that the Government’s policy briefing has provided the public with some further details on what EU citizens may expect post-Brexit, but feels that more needs to be known.

“Whilst the policy paper does not go into significant detail it has confirmed that a new category of ‘settled status’ is expected to be introduced,” said Donna. “Rather surprisingly, those who already have permanent residence in the UK will have to reapply via a new ‘streamlined’ process.

“Numbers are therefore expected to be extremely high, as it is thought that 150,000 applications for permanent resident status have been made since last year’s referendum.”

Under the Government’s plans, EU citizens will be eligible for ‘settled status’ once they have lived in the UK legally and continuously for five years.

Similar to the concept of indefinite leave to remain, individuals will have to apply for settled status – it will not be an automatic right.

Currently those EU citizens who have lived in the UK for five years whilst exercising their treaty rights automatically qualify for permanent residence.

Those with ‘settled status’ will be able to use public services, receive benefits and apply for British citizenship.

EU citizens who have yet to reach their five years will be able to apply for continued residence and remain until they are eligible to apply.  The application procedure is expected to be launched in the summer of 2018.

Donna said: “For those EU citizens arriving after the yet to be defined cut-off date, a new immigration regime will apply.

“Whilst yesterday’s policy paper was intended to reassure EU citizens, the government is yet to publish full details of this new scheme.

“There are concerns that minimum income thresholds will have to be met, as is the currently requirement with third country national wishing to join British spouses/civil partners in the UK, which are currently at £18,600 in order for families to be reunited. This has yet to be confirmed, but will entail significant changes if implemented.”