The Prime Minister, Theresa May, has announced that the Government will safeguard the position of EU citizens living in the UK after Brexit.
In a statement to the House of Commons on Monday, Mrs May outlined a proposal that recognised the contribution EU citizens have made to the UK.
In her speech she referred to the economic, cultural and social contribution of EU citizens living in Britain, which is why she was “making it an immediate priority at the beginning of the negotiations.”
As a part of the proposals, EU citizens will be entitled to ‘settled status’ if they have been continuously resident in the UK for five years. This means these citizens will be free to reside in any capacity, have access to public funds and services, and apply for British citizenship.
The Government has confirmed that EU citizens who arrive before the cut-off date, but haven’t been in the UK for five years, will be able to get permission to stay until they accumulate five years continuous residency. At which time, they will be able to apply for settled status.
EU citizens arriving after the cut-off date will be able to apply for permission to remain after the UK leaves the EU, but under future immigration arrangements.
The Prime Minister has also confirmed family dependents who are living with, or join EU citizens before the UK leaves the EU, will be able to apply for ‘settled status’ after just five years in the UK too. This will be irrespective of the final cut-off date which has not yet been confirmed.
Commenting on the announcement, Mr Freer said: “I am pleased the Prime Minister has made assurances to EU nationals that their rights will be protected after Brexit.
“I had made it clear to my constituents that this was a priority through the negotiations. No doubt further discussions will be had with our EU counterparts, and EU citizens living in the UK, to refine these proposals and to provide a reciprocal arrangement for the 1 million British nationals living in European member states.”
Notes for editors:
The policy paper, Safeguarding the position of EU citizens in the UK and UK nationals living in the EU confirms:
- family dependants who join a qualifying EU citizen in the UK before the UK’s exit will be able to apply for settled status after 5 years
- EU citizens looking to remain in the UK will be asked to apply for documentation under a new streamlined, user friendly scheme
- protection for the existing healthcare arrangements for both EU citizens in the UK and UK nationals in the EU. This includes seeking continued participation in the European Health Insurance Card scheme for all UK nationals and EU citizens, including for temporary visits
- the UK intends to provide certainty by continuing to export and uprate the UK State Pension within the EU, as well as offering reassurance that those exporting a benefit at the specified date will be able to do so, subject to ongoing entitlement
- EU citizens who arrived before the specified date should be able to continue to be eligible for Higher Education (HE) and Further Education (FE) student loans and ‘home fee’ status.
- the UK intends to continue to recognise professional qualifications obtained in the Member States prior to the UK’s withdrawal from the EU. This would be part of a reciprocal deal which ensures professional qualifications obtained in the UK and EU Member States continue to be mutually recognised.