Croatia has not yet been a member of the EU for five years, but it is nonetheless possible for Croatians and family members to acquire the right of permanent residence.
The right of permanent residence for EU citizens and their family members comes from Directive 2004/38/EC on the right of citizens of the Union and their family members to move and reside freely within the territory of the Member States “the Directive”. Article 16 of the Directive states as follows:
General rule for Union citizens and their family members
1. Union citizens who have resided legally for a continuous period of five years in the host Member State shall have the right of permanent residence there. This right shall not be subject to the conditions provided for in Chapter III.
2. Paragraph 1 shall apply also to family members who are not nationals of a Member State and have legally resided with the Union citizen in the host Member State for a continuous period of five years.”
The right of permanent residence is set out at Regulation 15 (1). This states, so far as is relevant:
The following persons shall acquire the right to reside in the United Kingdom permanently—
(a) an EEA national who has resided in the United Kingdom in accordance with these Regulations for a continuous period of five years;
(b) a family member of an EEA national who is not himself an EEA national but who has resided in the United Kingdom with the EEA national in accordance with these Regulations for a continuous period of five years;
An EEA national and their family member resides in the UK in accordance with the Regulations if they satisfy one of the relevant Regulations.
Residence prior to the commencement of the Immigration (European Economic Area) Regulations 2016 can be relied upon for the purpose of calculating period of residence in the UK as set out in Schedule 6 at Regulation 8:… READ FULL ARTICLE