Expired EEA/EU Residence Card – Can I Stay? Can I Work?
Documents related to your residence in the UK under European law differ from traditional immigration documents. Documents issued under EU law are a confirmation of existing rights rather than granting permission to stay. Whilst we would advise all clients to retain a valid residence card, expiration of that card will not necessarily affect your rights in the UK.
What is a Residence Card?
This document confirms your right as the family member of an EU citizen to live and work in the UK. The card is valid for five years and makes it easier to prove your right both to employers and immigration officials. On expiration of the Residence card it is possible to apply for another Residence Card or for a Permanent Residence Card. It is important to remember that as the Family Member of an EEA citizen, your rights are derived from your Family Member and are contingent on that Family Member continuing to exercise their Treaty Rights Ki Residences.
What happens when my Residence Card expires?
Expiration of your Card does not mean that your stay in the UK also has to expire. However, it may cause difficulties. There are other means to proving your rights to be in the UK however we would advise that you seek professional advice on doing so as such an avenue is subject to a lot of discretionary decision-making.
If my Residence Card expires will I lose my job?
Employers have a statutory duty to ensure that all of their employees have a legal right to work. Checking an EEA Residence Card is one way in which an employer can ensure they have discharged this duty. If an individual’s Card expires, an employer will request proof that an application has been submitted for a replacement in the form of a Certificate of Application. In the absence of such documents, employers are wary of incurring a hefty fine for employing illegal workers. However the absence of these documents in themselves does not mean you do not have the right to work. The Employment Appeals Tribunal has addressed this issue and confirmed this to be the case. In any case, we would advise any individual to keep their Card valid where possible and to seek professional advice where it has expired and they are required to prove their rights.
It remains to be seen what the implications of the British exit from the EU (click for further information) will be for EU citizens living in the UK. We would urge those who are in a position to do so to formalise their status in an effort to secure their current position.