Citizenship and rights as a worker

Every citizen of 28 member states of European Union also holds a “Union Citizenship”, which is in addition to citizenship granted to them by virtue of being national of a particular State.

Example

  • Steve a British National is a British citizen and Union Citizen as well at the same time, similarly, a Polish national is a Polish citizen but also holds an additional citizenship of the European Union.
  • Anna is a Polish citizen living in the UK she is also a “Union Citizen”.

Rights

Union Citizenship”, allows a right of free movement within the Member States, right of permanent residence for Union citizen and his/her family members, right to work as an employee or self-employed. Union Citizenship also grants right of equal treatment,  right of the same social and tax advantage as that to a national.

Citizenship Rights

All Citizens of the 28-member states and their families (including EU and non-EU family members) have a right to leave their home state and move to or reside in any other Member State for

  • 3 months without any conditions to meet
  • But must hold a valid Identity card or passport (for both EU and Non-EU dependent family members)
  • No access to Welfare benefits in the host Member State
  • For economically inactive Union Citizens to stay, over 3 months they must not be dependent on the Host State’s Social Security System and must be self-sufficient and hold comprehensive Sickness/Medical Insurance.
  • An EU national Student who wants to stay for more than 3 months must make a declaration of “sufficient resources”.
  • Member states are not obliged to provide for maintenance grants and student loans to a person who is not a worker, self-employed or part of a family of such worker or self-employed person.
  • In limited circumstances, it is possible for an EU Student to obtain student loans and grants if they have resided in host state lawfully and is sufficiently integrated into the host State’s society

Example

  • Steve, his wife and children are British nationals, they can move to any country for up to three months without any conditions to fulfil.
  • Ahmad is a British national but his wife is still an Indian national and has not acquired British nationality yet, Both Ahmad and his wife can visit any Member State although his wife is still an Indian national, all she needs is to accompany Ahmad and hold a valid Indian Passport which includes an entry clearance.
  • Steve and his wife, an economically inactive couple decided to stay for more than three months in Italy and want to make Italy a permanent home, they must have sufficient resources to support themselves. They must not be a burden on Italy’s Social Welfare System and must have Comprehensive Sickness Insurance.
  • Linda is a Polish national who wishes to move to London and study for a degree in Accountancy, she will not be entitled to a student loan or any grant in the UK
  • Patricia a Polish national, living in London is a family member of a worker or self-employed person, she is entitled to a student loan

Rights of Self Employed/Employed Union Citizens

Self-employed and employed citizens and their family members (both EU national and Non-EU national family members) have a right to stay over 3 months in a host Member State.

Family Members

Family members means,

  • Spouse, registered partner, direct descendants under the 21 years of age
  • Dependants, dependent’s direct relatives

Important Condition

The Rights granted under “Union Citizenship”, can only be exercised when a national of a one-member State moves to another Member State.

Example

  • Anna has moved from Romania to the UK, she can now (while in the UK) exercise her right of free movement under “Union Citizenship
  • Steve a British national moves to Spain, he can exercise “Union Citizenship” rights in Spain.
  • Shelly a British national while living in the UK is a “Union Citizen” but she cannot rely on these rights as she has not moved from the UK to any other member state.

Non-EU Nationals

Nationals of countries from the Non-European Area do not hold any “Union Citizenship” rights while living in any member state under any other immigration status, for example, nationals of non-EU countries on Work Visas, Student Visas or Indefinite Leave to remain. They may have limited rights given to them in Directive 2004/38 as a dependent which is discussed below.

Example

  • Ahmad a Pakistani national is on Indefinite Leave to Remain in the UK, he will not be considered as a “Union Citizen” and cannot rely on the “Union’s Citizenship” rights
  • Deepika an Indian national on a work permit will not be considered as a “Union Citizen” and cannot rely on the “Union’s Citizenship” rights in any 28 Member States.

Death /Departure of the Union citizen

The rights of family members and dependents of a Union citizen are not affected by the death of a Union Citizen” or his/her leave from the host State provided they are in work or have sufficient means and are not dependent on the host State’s Social Security System

Where the family members or dependents are non-EU nationals, they can live in the host State after the death or departure of the Union Citizen provided they have lived together in the host state for at least 1 year but they must be in work or have sufficient resources and Comprehensive Sickness Insurance

Example

  • Frank, Anna and family are Italian nationals living in the UK for some time, Frank decides to leave the UK or dies, Anna and family members can still live in the UK, provided they are either in work or have sufficient resources to stay in the UK without being a burden on UK’s Social Security System.
  • Ahmad an Italian national and his Indian wife and family who are living in the UK for at least 1 year, on the death or departure of Ahmad, his wife and family members can still live in the UK provided they are either in work or have sufficient resources to stay in the UK without being burden on UK’s Social Security System.

Separation

Separation between couple has not impact on the rights.

Example

Anna and Frank are now separated that does not have any impact on their Citizenship Rights of both Frank and Anna

Divorce

Divorce, annulment of marriage or termination of a registered partnership have some effect on rights. If the partner is an EU national their rights are generally unaffected provided they are either in work or have sufficient resources to stay in the UK without being a burden on the UK’s Social Security System

For a non-EU partner to retain their rights the marriage or partnership must have lasted for at least 3 years including 1 year in the host State or the spouse/ partner has the custody of a Union Citizen’s children or if there are special circumstances such as a victim of domestic violence, the non-EU National partner can retain the rights in these circumstances provided he/she is either in work or has sufficient resources to stay in the UK without being a burden on the UK’s Social Security System.

Example

  • Patricia and Frank are Italian nationals living in the UK, upon the divorce, the EU partners can stay in the UK provided they are either in work or have sufficient resources to stay in the UK without being burden on the UK’s Social Security System
  • Ahmad is British national and his wife Deepika an Indian national living in Spain for just over 1 year but they are married for more than three years. Upon Divorce Deepika can continue living in Spain as they were married for at least 3 years and were living in Spain for at least 1 year, provided Deepika is working or has sufficient resources to stay in Spain without being a burden on Spain’s Social Security System

Further rights

  • The family members have a right to take up employment or self-employment
  • The right of equal treatment
  • Union Citizens have same the social and tax advantages as that of the nationals of the host State
  • Right of permanent residence after 5 years, this right is unaffected by temporary absences of up to 6 months
  • The right to permanent residence can be lost only through absence exceeding 2 years
  • Right to vote and to stand as a candidate in elections to the European Parliament and in municipal elections in Member State where they are resident
  • Right to apply to the Ombudsman

Duties

  • Requirement to report their arrival within reasonable time and register with authorities
  • Non-EU family members must apply for and be issued with a residence card

Disclaimer

While every effort has been made to ensure the accuracy of the information provided in this article, it does not constitute legal advice and cannot be relied upon as such. Each legal case and issue may have unique facts and circumstances, as a result legalally does not accept any responsibility for liabilities arising as a result of reliance upon the information provided. For further help and guidance, you can always rely on and seek advice from our experienced lawyers.

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