Dozens of worried British nationals have been contacting lawyers and community websites since the Dutch immigration service IND updated its Brexit information to state that their European permanent residency permits will expire on March 29, when Brexit comes into effect.
The IND website outlines the options which British nationals can take to regulate their post-Brexit stay. One option is to apply for the residence permit for EU nationals, which costs €51 and does not require integration exams.
However, the website continues: ‘keep in mind that the validity of an EU permanent residence document will expire permanently for you on 29 March 2019. After all, on that day British citizens are no longer EU citizens.’
News that the EU permanent residency permit will be invalid after Brexit has suprised British nationals who are currently trying to regulate their stay.
However, immigration lawyer Jeremy Bierbach, of Franssen Advocaten, told DutchNews.nl that the IND is being extremely irresponsible to state that EU permanent residence documents will no longer be valid after Brexit. In addition, he says that British nationals in the Netherlands will still be protected by European law.
‘The IND is an administrative agency and has no authority to interpret EU law,’ Bierbach said. The question of whether EU residency documents will expire after March 29 is ‘purely a question for the European Court of Justice in Luxembourg,’ he said.
Some 45,000 adult British people live in the Netherlands and will need to have some form of permit to remain in the country after March 29 2019. As EU citizens, they do not need any form of residency permit.
Last month’s DutchNews.nl Brexit survey showed that almost four in 10 British people living in the Netherlands have done nothing yet to regulate their stay post Brexit.
Of those that had taken action, almost one in four had applied for a European residents permit and just a handful had gone down the more difficult route to get a regular residents’ permit.
DutchNews.nl has asked the IND and the justice ministry to comment on the accuracy of the website text.
On Wednesday the Guardian reported that both France and Germany were looking at what the status of British nationals living there would be after a no-deal Brexit.
France says these would include Britons needing visas to visit and UK nationals resident in the country being in an ‘irregular’ legal situation.
Note: The IND updated its website on Thursday to clarify the situation slightly. It now states that in the event of a deal, the EU permanent residency permit will be be exchanged free of charge for another type of permit. In event of no deal, ‘it is still unclear what you can do’, the website states. In both cases, however, the EU residency permit will expire, the IND says.
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