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System of obtaining Permanent Residence Certification

Volume 632: debated on Monday 4 December 2017

The petition of residents of the UK,

Declares that the current system of PR discriminates against many groups of EU/EEA residents and their non-EEA spouses/ civil partners; further that this reform will facilitate EU/EAA nationals to obtain Permanent Resident Certification/Card (PR), currently mandatory to become UK citizens (for those who wish to do so).

The petitioners therefore request that the House of Commons urges the Government to ensure that British spouses/civil partners to be considered as sponsors or their EU/EEA spouses/civil partners in PR applications; further to scrap Comprehensive Sickness Insurance as PR requirement for EU/EEA students, homemakers, carers, retired and disabled people or applicants self-sufficient through other income, including their non-EEA spouses/civil partners; EU/EEA nationals, their spouses/civil partners, their children, who have exercised treaty rights for less than five years, to complete their journey to PR; further that parents/carers of British citizens to obtain PR automatically; further that spouses/civil partners of UK service men/women to acquire PR without proof of residency; further that PR to be protected under UK law; further that type of residency evidence, currently accepted for PR/ILR, to be accepted for UK citizenship; further that leaders are urged to act now to reform the system of obtaining Permanent Residence Certification/Card (PR).

And the petitioners remain, etc.—[Presented by Tommy Sheppard, Official Report, 12 September 2017; Vol. 628, c. 811 .]


Observations from the Minister for Immigration (Brandon Lewis):

The right of ‘permanent residence’, and the requirements that need to be met to acquire it, originate from Directive 2004/38/EC (‘the Free Movement Directive’). EU citizens are not required to apply to the Home Office for documentation confirming their status or their right to be here, although it remains open for them to do so if they wish.

EU citizens automatically acquire ‘permanent residence’ status if they have lived in the UK for a continuous period of five years in accordance with the Directive—for example, by exercising Treaty rights as a worker, self-employed person, student, or self-sufficient person or by residing as the family member of an EU national exercising Treaty rights. ‘Permanent residence’ status is linked to the UK’s membership of the EU and will no longer be valid after the UK leaves.

The current Free Movement Directive requires those who wish to rely on periods of residence as a student or self-sufficient person in order to acquire ‘permanent residence’ to have held comprehensive sickness insurance for the relevant qualifying periods. This is because the Directive requires that self-sufficient people and students are not a burden on the social assistance system of the host member state.

The Government have set out in their policy document, published on 26 June and available at: uk/ government/publications/safeguarding-the-position- of-eu-citizens-in-the-uk-and-uk-nationals-in-the-eu, its intention to create new rights in UK law for qualifying EU citizens resident here before our exit. Those rights will be enforceable through the UK legal system and will provide legal guarantees for these EU citizens and their family members. To qualify, the EU citizen must have been lawfully resident in the UK before a specified date and must have completed a period of five years’ continuous residence in the UK before they apply for settled status, at which point they must still be resident. Those who are resident on the specified date, but do not qualify for settled status before we leave the EU will be able to stay after exit and to accrue the five years’ residence needed for settled status.

Under the new scheme, we will not require anyone to demonstrate they have held comprehensive sickness insurance. We intend to create a new application process for UK settled status, which will be as simple and user-friendly as possible. On citizens’ rights we want to reach agreement as soon as we can, providing certainty for citizens. We will set out further details in due course.