Immigration was one of the hottest topics of the debate from both sides, don't panic has to be the immediate message.
Immigration in the UK has 2 very different paths, with migrants from the EU member states exercising their Treaty rights to free movement under EU law, and non EU migrants being regulated by the immigration rules.
Prior to the referendum, none of the campaigners were bold enough to suggest how the 2 sets of rules would be amalgamated in order for everyone to be treated the same. We know from the extensive coverage post referendum that the clock doesn't start to tick until the UK invokes article 50 of the Treaty, the timetable for this is still unclear, but we also know there will be a 2 year exit process in which the rules can be changed, so in the interim time, in theory nothing changes.
Except everything has changed. EU workers will be understandably nervous about their home, jobs and families and having settled in the UK may feel that this can now be taken from them with out their consent or even their knowledge. Spouses of EU workers who are not from the EU themselves are able to live and work in the UK purely by virtue of their family association and if that is taken away, they too may have no right to remain.
The current rules allow for EU workers exercising treaty rights In the UK to apply for a permanent residence card after a continuous period of 5 years and once a permanent residence card is granted, British Citizenship can follow. There will be many workers who are 3 years into their period of residence that may feel that the opportunity to obtain permanent residence will go. At Biscoes we envisage a rush of EU workers with more than 5 years exercising treaty rights looking to secure permanent residence cards under the current rules. Over the coming weeks and months many more will cross the 5 year threshold and need to take the opportunity to secure their residence in the UK before any substantial announcement regarding rule changes occurs.
Many leave campaign commentators were calling for an "Australian style points based system", a form of which we already have had in place since 2009, and therefore it may be that qualification for residence in the UK will follow that pattern, at this stage we just don't know, so all we can offer in terms of legal advice to EU workers is to secure your status as soon as possible as there seems to be plenty of time to do so.