European Union

Nationals of the member states of the European Union benefit from more favourable provisions of immigration law than nationals of other countries.

It is important to realize, however, that not all EU nationals are in the same position – in some cases there are special provisions.

  • Nationals of European Union Member States:The EEA (European Economic Area) includes all EU states plus Iceland, Liechtenstein and Norway and, for immigration purposes, Switzerland. Since 1 January 2014, Romanian and Bulgarian nationals are also included without restrictions.
  • Croatia:Nationals of Croatia, the most recent member of the European Union, can since 1 July 2013, apply for a worker registration certificate and no longer have to rely on the Association Agreements with the European Union. Other rights, including rights to work in self-employment in the UK, are as for other EU nationals, although be aware that some of these rights depend on the EU national working, rather than just being, in the UK. Existing limitations on the right to work in the UK will be lifted from 1 July 2018.
  • ECAA – Turkey:Although Turkey is not a Member State of the European Union its nationals can benefit from European Community Association Agreements (ECAA) between the European Union and Turkey.

Rees Clayton has a strong team to deal with European cases and cases under the Association Agreements. Contact us to discuss your requirements and how we can help you with your case.


Important note:  Following the triggering of Article 50 on 29 March 2017 there is now a two-year period for the UK and EU to complete negotiations. Until the date that the UK exits the EU, the status and rights of EU nationals, plus nationals of Iceland, Lichtenstein, Norway and Switzerland remain the same.

The UK are proposing a cut-off date which will be no earlier than 29 March 2017 and no later than the date the UK leaves the EU. Depending on whether EU nationals entered before or after this date, and how long they have been in the UK, will determine what status they will have in the UK going forwards. For EU nationals who have entered the UK after the cut-off date the Home Office will be introducing a new immigration scheme specifically for them. This offer is expected to be extended to resident nationals of Iceland, Lichtenstein, Norway and Switzerland. Irish nationals however will not need to apply for any new status as the rights of British and Irish citizens in each other’s countries are rooted in the Ireland Act 1949.

From the date that the UK leaves the UK there will be a grace period of up to two years in which EU nationals and their families will be able to apply for and receive a residence document under the new immigration scheme. Any EU nationals who do not receive a document confirming their new immigration status by the end of this period will no longer have permission to remain in the UK.

For more information regarding the current proposals from the UK regarding the proposed status, or if you have any queries or concerns about this process, please contact a member of our team.

ECAA – Turkey

There is an agreement between the European Union and Turkey that gives Turkish nationals special rights. In the past the EU had association agreements with countries such as Bulgaria, Romania, Poland and other states that have now joined the EU. These allowed nationals of those countries to work in self-employment in the UK. Nationals of those countries, including people who came to the UK under the old association agreements, now have the right to work as self-employed people in the UK because they are members of the European Union.

The Ankara Agreement (an Association Between the Republic of Turkey and the European Economic Community) is an agreement that aims to pave the way towards the accession of Turkey into the European Economic Community. The Association Agreement with Turkey provides rights for Turkish nationals and requires the Home Office to apply old, and more generous, rules to them. The UK Home Office’s original practice in interpreting the agreement as applying only to those who are already in the UK was changed in 2009 to open a route for Turkish nationals to apply for visas to come to the UK under the terms of agreement. The Ankara Agreement is not extended to Turkish citizens that have entered the UK illegally.

European Union Nationals

Nationals of European Union Member States

EEA National have a right to come and live or work or study in the UK without any restrictions.

They can reside here for up to three months, or longer if they are a ‘qualified person’. The category of qualified people includes jobseekers, workers, self-employed and self-sufficient people and students.

Family members, whether European nationals themselves or not, can come with or join an EEA National, subject to certain restrictions. There are two groups of family members: immediate and wider family. Different rules apply to each group.

Family members of a qualified person may also retain their rights to residence in the UK in a wide range of circumstances, even where the qualified person dies or a marriage or partnership breaks down.

EEA nationals and their family members are entitled to a document certifying their immigration status in the UK. After five years residence in the UK in accordance with the EEA Regulations, EEA nationals and their family members can apply for permanent residence and then later, British citizenship.

If you require any EU Law advice including, EEA Family Permit, EEA Residence Card, EEA Retained Right of Residence or Permanent Residence please Contact us.

Important note: Following a referendum on 23 June 2016, 51.9% of British voters voted in favour of leaving the European Union.

The mechanism for leaving the EU, set out in Article 50 of the Treaty on the European Union (the Lisbon Treaty), requires the UK to formally give notice of its intention to leave, triggering a two year period after which its membership of the EU will cease.

The UK government has pledged to engage Article 50 by March 2017. The UK remains a member of the EU throughout this process, however, and the rights of EEA nationals will remain guaranteed until the UK formally leaves the EU.

It is expected that transitional arrangements will be made regarding the status of EEA citizens for when the UK does leave the EU. The nature and scope of such arrangements remain unknown to date.

If you have any queries or concerns about this process, please contact a member of our team.

Human Rights and International Protection

Alongside its renowned personal and corporate immigration departments Rees Clayton maintain an unparalleled reputation in assisting individuals with complex personal circumstances who require international and human rights protection.

Rees Clayton handle domestic and international extradition proceedings alongside claims for international protection (e.g. asylum), human rights-based applications and appeals and applications to international courts and tribunals, all under one roof. This provides our clients with significant advantages:


By dealing with all of a client’s protection matters, Rees Clayton are able to ensure that a global case strategy is followed to ensure the best possible outcome.

In complex cases, expertise in extradition law alone is often not enough. A coordinated strategy is required and a claim for international protection will often be the only way of protecting a client’s interest.

In addition, there may be applications to INTERPOL, the European Court of Human Rights or the General Court of Justice of the EU.

Working closely with local lawyers, Rees Clayton have experience of coordinating teams of defence lawyers and crafting a winning strategy.


These cases often involve extremely sensitive issues and prospective witnesses may be extremely wary about providing statements to several groups of lawyers. In addition, thought must be given at an early stage to the extent to which certain evidence can be deployed. The interplay between extradition proceedings and claims for international protection and other ancillary litigation is complex. Rees Clayton have experience of managing the most sensitive of cases and in identifying the most appropriate forum in which to defend a case.

For immediate assistance contact us.

Asylum and Humanitarian Protection

Rees Clayton have a particular expertise in successfully obtaining a grant of asylum in the UK (and abroad) in some of the most difficult and atypical cases.

Asylum is protection given by a country to someone who is fleeing persecution in their home country. The 1951 United Nations Convention (including the 1967 Protocol Relating to the Status of Refugees) recognises the right of persons to seek asylum from persecution in other countries. It is the centrepiece of international refugee protection today.

A refugee, according to the Convention, is someone who is unable or unwilling to return to their country of origin owing to a well-founded fear of being persecuted for reasons of race, religion, nationality, membership of a particular social group, or political opinion. Persecution might take many forms. An individual might face death or torture at the hands of the state or they might face prosecution in a politically motivated criminal trial.

A grant of asylum can provide an individual with rights of residence in a country but, more importantly, it protects that individual from forced removal to the persecuting state – including by means of deportation or extradition. For individuals who face abusive and politically motivated criminal allegations, asylum is often the safest and strongest defence against extradition.

As well as our expertise in obtaining protection for individuals in the UK, Rees Clayton have experience of international protection claims in many other jurisdictions. We have assisted with asylum cases in countries such as Cyprus, Czech Republic, Spain, Italy, France, Germany, Austria and Monaco.

A state that is determined to secure the extradition of an individual will often not stop simply because that individual defeats extradition proceedings. It will often send multiple extradition requests or target that individual with arrest and extradition proceedings if they travel abroad. Individuals can find themselves trapped in their country of refuge and unable to travel. Securing asylum can result in the issuance of a United Nations Travel Document that may enable an individual to travel internationally. Rees Clayton have extensive experience in advising individuals who remain the target of politically motivated extradition requests with respect to future travel. We have secured ‘safe passage’ to a variety of countries around the world for individuals who have been recognised as refugees.

Alongside a claim under the Refugee Convention, an individual may also be able to claim Humanitarian Protection under the European Convention on Human Rights (ECHR).

There is significant overlap between the two procedures but also some key differences. Whilst many claims for asylum and humanitarian protection will succeed or fail together, there are cases where an individual can still successfully claim Humanitarian Protection even where a claim for asylum might fail.

Rees Clayton has a team dedicated to Human Rights-based claims and work alongside internationally renowned counsel to ensure that our clients’ claims are always prepared to the highest possible standard and every avenue for protection is explored.

For immediate assistance please contact us.