The future immigration status after the departure of the United Kingdom from the European Union is confusing for Portuguese residents like Hélder Morgado, who arrived in Scotland two years ago, shortly after the referendum that dictated Brexit.
Despite being informed by the Portuguese and British press and being indicated by the group of friends as the most interested in the group for the present, the 40-year-old from Barcelona still has doubts.
“It is not very clear, I have many doubts. I would like to have more definitive information about what I need to do, but there is a lot of speculation,” said the health care assistant.
Equipped with a scarf and sweater from the national football team whose friendly game against Scotland last Sunday saw Glasgow, Hélder Morgado admitted he has not yet tried to apply for the residency status.
“I did not worry too much because [the exit] is only in 2019 and I heard that the British government will give two more years for people to register, so I think there will be enough time,” he said.
Until he has completed five consecutive years of living in the United Kingdom, Morgado will only be entitled to a ‘pre-settled status’, being the status of a settled status granted to those who have been for five years or more in the country.
The British government has promised that it will defend the rights of Europeans after leaving the EU, and said that those who arrive before Brexit will be able to stay and complete the five years required for permanent residence.
The settled status, said the Home Office, will give Europeans the right to “stay in the UK as long as they want” after December 2020, with access to the labor market, public services such as education, health care, social support and retirement pension.
After the ‘Brexit’, revealed the Prime Minister, Theresa May, the citizens of the EU countries will be treated in the same way as the other countries outside the EU and the access to British jobs by immigrants will be given priority to workers with better qualifications, while those with less qualifications will face more restrictions.
Despite qualifying for pre-settled status, Hélder Morgado fears that even if it is necessary to apply for a work visa, it is questionable whether “it will be feasible to stay, if it is going to be easy,” or if there is a risk of losing their job.
João Lopes, 37, of whom 14 years in Scotland, where he works in the construction industry, is also confused because the information he receives comes mainly from social networks, where he read that even those with more than five years of residence “do not need do nothing “.
But the application process for European citizens wishing to stay in the UK after the ‘Brexit’, at the end of March next year, will be compulsory for everyone from senior citizens to children, with the exception of those with dual nationality.
This is the case of the youngest son of John Lopes, who was born in Edinburgh and had a right to a British passport even though neither parent has a permanent residence permit.
Albino Pereira, 62, already got the blue card thanks to the help of Citizens Advice and the Portuguese Consulate in Manchester.
For this he needed to complete an 85-page form and attach numerous documents, in addition to paying a fee of 65 pounds (74 euros), but when registering after 2019 on the British Interior Ministry’s electronic system will be automatically assigned and free or settled status.
“But I am worried about my son, who has a profound disability, and my wife, who treats him and does not work, they have only been here for two years,” said Pereira, unaware that the new system promises to facilitate family registration who have not worked in the UK.
Hélder’s brother, Carlos Morgado, says that it is not only uncertain about Brexit that it is driving the Europeans to go away or to look for other countries to immigrate.
“The pound has devalued, the cost of living has increased and wages have not risen. There are still Portuguese people coming to look for work, but it is not so easy,” he explained.