Dr Navasardyan, OTS Solicitor’s registered European lawyer recently appeared on Sky’s A Different Kind of Woman show, offering expert insights into the rights of EU nationals living in the UK after Brexit.
Dr Navasardyan was invited onto the show to comment on the topic “I’m a legal alien". Interestingly, one of the first question she was asked was, “What is immigration”. Dr Navasardyan replied that although there was no definition of immigration, it was simple to define an immigrant. “An immigrant is a person who is subject to limitations and regulation to enter into and live in a country. When we talk about an immigrant, it is not someone who was born outside the UK, but those who are subject to immigration controls. This led to an interesting discussion about perception; most people view an immigrant as a person who comes from another country, or has a different accent, when in fact, often these people have become British Citizens and are no longer legally classed as migrants.
Dr Navasardyan also pointed out that the actual migration population in the UK is only 8-9%.
How Brexit will affect EU nationals living in the UK?
The interview inevitably turned to the issue of Brexit and the fate of EU nationals who have made Britain their home. Dr Navasardyan stated that it was difficult to say whether EU nationals will retain their rights to remain in the UK as even the government was unclear on this. She stated, “In my opinion, this is not good governing because you should not decide to do something before you know the consequences of it”.
She went on to add that if you are an EU national exercising Treaty rights, i.e. you are self-employed, working, a student or self-sufficient, after five years you automatically acquire a right to permanent residency in the UK. Some conditions apply, for example, students and self-employed people must have Comprehensive Sickness Insurance.
EU Nationals and Legitimate Expectation
For EU nationals who have not been in the UK for five years, Dr Navasardyan commented that it would be very hard for the British government to send them home.
“People have come here, believing that the UK is part of the EU and therefore they can stay here for as long as they want. It is going to be very difficult for the government to remove these people from a human rights perspective as they could rely on the Doctrine of Legitimate Expectation”.
She went on to say that people who have arrived in the UK and structured their lives around the fact that they can stay in Britain for an unlimited period may argue that they had a ‘legitimate expectation’ to be able to stay permanently in the country and therefore cannot be removed.
Dr Navasardyan then went on to talk about a “cut-off date”. The government would use this date to stipulate any EU nationals arriving in the UK after this period would not have a legitimate expectation to stay in the country permanently.
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The UK government’s immigration failures
The discussion then turned to how the media portrayed EU nationals. Dr Navasardyan stated that there was a common misconception that EU nationals come to the UK to take advantage of social security benefits, but under the EU freedom of movement rules, this is not allowed. It is the British government that has failed to police EU immigration effectively. Subsequently, the EU is being used as a scapegoat for Britain’s perceived immigration problems. Dr Navasardyan also commented that when she came to the UK three years ago, she was shocked at how permissive UK immigration rules are. She argued that it was the UK’s own laws that allowed for large numbers of people to enter the Britain and this had nothing to do with being part of the EU.
After listening to Dr Navasardyan comments, it is clear the British people may have thrown the baby out with the bathwater when they voted for Brexit.
You can see the full interview with Dr Navasardyan here:
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Posted on: Thursday, 06 April, 2017