So it has happened. The UK has voted to leave the EU.
What are the likely consequences for EEA nationals and their dependants who are already in the UK or who are planning to come to the UK?
In the short term, there are probably not going to be any consequences. The vote by the people does not have any legal effect. The legal position of EEA nationals and their dependants will only change when the UK’s immigration law is changed, which may not happen for a while.
And the fact is that there is a vast number of EEA nationals and their dependants living in the UK – nobody knows exactly how many because there is no accurate way of counting. The Government is hardly in a position to tell all EEA nationals and their dependants to just go home, for logistical reasons as much as anything else.
But the Government might be in a position at some point in the future, when the law has been changed, to put restrictions on EEA nationals entering the UK, similarly to the way it currently does on non-EEA nationals.
We will just have to wait and see what happens. Such treaty agreement as there is on the subject of withdrawal from the EU is highly vague. Those who have acquired Permanent Residence, or who acquire Permanent Residence in the near future, should be safe, as of course will be those who have acquired British citizenship. But the position of those who hold Residence Cards or Family Permits is not clear.
We will keep our readers informed as we become aware of developments.