What should EU citizens residing in the UK do as the UK heads towards the Brexit?

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Consult a barrister, writes Misbah Zahid

In June 2016, the United Kingdom voted to leave the European Union with 51.9% voting to leave and 48.1% voting to remain. This declaration of the Brexit victory has left many EU migrants feeling upset, disappointed and anxious about what the future holds for them – and specifically whether they will be allowed to remain in the UK. In fact, many EU migrants who are currently residing in the United Kingdom worry that they might not be able to stay in the U.K., even though they have built careers, homes and raised families.

Prime Minister Theresa May has done little to allay their fears. So far, she has refused to guarantee the rights of the 3.3 million EU migrants currently residing in the U.K.

With the uncertainty whether the rights of the EU migrants in the U.K. will be protected, if you are an EU citizen living in the U.K. the responsibility to ensure that your residency is secured post-Brexit rests with you. There are legal channels open to you to stay, whatever the outcome of the negotiations between the U.K. and the EU.

For you to have a better chance of securing your residency in the U.K. after Brexit, it is worth getting the assistance of an expert immigration lawyer, who will know their way around highly complex regulations.  More than that, it is advisable to consult a barrister (which you can do directly without having to go through a solicitor) because barristers are trained, experienced advocates who will be able to argue your case forcefully in any legal hearing – or be able to help you frame arguments cogently in any written communications.

Instructing a barrister to represent you in oral hearings is likely significantly to increase your chances of success – by almost two-thirds (64%), if recent statistics are correct. Since immigration rules -  especially surrounding migrants and their families - are so complex and complicated these hearings are usually won on technical arguments.

It will therefore be extremely useful for you to have a barrister who has a specialist knowledge of the rules of the games get involved. Furthermore, according to the Bar Council, instructing a barrister at an early stage can help resolve problems quickly and efficiently. It is also a major plus that barristers have trained advocacy skills to represent their client’s best interests in and out of court. Finally, there are volumes upon volumes of reported case law, and instead of having to go through the bulk of case law and research this for yourself, a barrister with their ample experience can conduct the research more efficiently and submit legal submissions on your behalf.

Although there are plenty of advantages of instructing a barrister, a barrister cannot turn a bad case into a good case. However, it can certainly be the difference between a winning and losing case and whether you and your family can secure your residency in the United Kingdom. 


Misbah Zahid

Immigration Barrister @