Theresa May Speech June 26, 2017, UK Settlement of EU Citizens
Family Members Guarantee of Rights, Two Year Window, Cut-off Date
This post relates to the British PM Theresa May’s agenda-setting speech in the House of Commons on June 26, 2017, that reveals what ending freedom of movement means to more than three (3) million Europeans living in the UK. In this regard, this post covers the following topics:
- EU Citizens to Bring Family Members to the UK Before Brexit;
- UK Law to Guarantee Rights of EU Citizens in the UK after Brexit;
- Reactions from European Commission and European Parliament;
- Two Year Window to Process EU Citizens’ Settlement Applications;
- The Cut-off Date | BREXIT | UK Settlement of EU Citizens;
- Salient Features | BREXIT Paper | UK Settlement of EU Citizens | June 26, 2017;
EU Citizens are Allowed to Bring Family Members to the UK Before Brexit
The speech advice EU citizens residing in the UK to bring their family members over to the UK before Brexit or face harder immigration rules, in a move that would dismay the European counterparts.
The British PM has decided not to notice the call from the European Commission to allow EU residents, living in the United Kingdom, the right to be joined by family members after the Brexit, as part of a deal on citizens’ rights for more than 3.2 million estimated EU citizens living in the UK.
Instead, the British PM Mrs. May said family dependents joining European Union citizens residing in the United Kingdom (UK) after BREXIT will be subject to the same rules as those joining British citizens who will arrive after the cut-off point.
UK Law to Guarantee Rights of EU Citizens in the UK after Brexit
The British Government also again rejected calls from the European Union that the rights of EU citizens be upheld by European Court of Justice (ECJ). In the offer document on June 26, 2017, British Government has stated that the ECJ will not be having jurisdiction in the United Kingdom, but the rights of EU Citizens would instead be guaranteed by the UK law.
Reactions from European Commission and European Parliament
Following the PM’s statement, Michel Barnier, EC’s Chief Brexit Negotiator, in a tweet stated that EU goal on citizen’s rights is to have the same level of protection as in European Union law. More clarity, ambition, and guarantees are needed in the stated position of the UK.
Moreover, Guy Verhofstadt, European Parliament’s Brexit Coordinator, opined that some limitations remain worrisome, which requires a careful assessment.
The differences in position – on rights as well as on who will enforce them – underline how difficult these negotiations could be in the coming weeks, as both the sides try to thrash out a deal that would affect more than One (1) Million British Citizens living in the European Union and an estimated 3.2 Million EU Citizens residing in the United Kingdom.
Two Year Window to Process EU Citizens’ Settlement Applications
The scale of the administrative task facing the British Government was also laid bare on Monday, June 26, as the UK’s Home Office said it had given itself a two (2) year window to process settlement applications from EU citizens for “settled status” to protect their rights in the UK.
That could amount to over four thousand (4,000) applications per day, which according to officials and experts is definitely a challenge for HM’s Home Office.
The UK Government intends to scale up the operations for processing applications, but it has admitted that the Government had not done a study on whether or not there might be a surge in migration before the cut-off point.
The fifteen (15) page document will grant EU citizens, who have lived in the UK for five (5) years, “settled status” after Britain leaves the EU. This means they will be treated as if they are UK citizens for healthcare, benefits, education, and pensions (Contact UK Immigration Solicitors to Process Your Settlement Application Now!).
The Cut-off Date | BREXIT | UK Settlement of EU Citizens
There would be a cut-off date which is no earlier than the day Britain triggered Article 50 – March 29, 2017 – and no later than Britain’s withdrawal from the EU.
However, the British Government said EU citizens had a two (2) year window after Brexit to apply for settled status to avoid a cliff-edge.
The policy paper also states that EU citizens who arrive before the cut-off date, but with fewer than five (5) years as a resident, will be given time to stay to obtain settled status.
According to the paper, those EU citizens who arrive after the cut-off point can stay/remain in the United Kingdom for a temporary period, but they should not have any expectation of guaranteed settled status in the UK.
Salient Features | BREXIT Paper | UK Settlement of EU Citizens | June 26, 2017
- Dependants – EU citizens applying for a settled status will have to bring over dependants before the BREXIT. After UK’s exit from the EU, dependents will be subject to the standard UK immigration rules;
- Access to UK Benefits – EU citizens with a settled status would continue to have access to benefits in the United Kingdom on the same basis as a comparable UK citizens;
- EU Citizens having LESS than Five (5) Years Residency in the UK – EU citizens who do not have five (5) years’ residence at the time of the BREXIT but are on pathway to a settled status would be able to have access to the same benefits as of now – equal access for those EU Citizens in work and limited benefit access for unemployed;
- Creation of New Rights for EU Citizens – The British Government will be creating new rights in UK Law for qualifying EU nationals residing in the UK or before BREXIT. This measure would be enforced by the UK courts. European Court of Justice would not have jurisdiction in the United Kingdom;
- Right to Vote – EU citizens will no longer be able to vote in local elections;
- Allow to Remit UK Benefits – EU nationals will be allowed to send their UK benefits to other EU countries – for instance, childcare benefits – if the EU citizen will be doing so before the cut-off date;
- State Pension – The UK will continue to pay out state pension within the EU to qualifying EU nationals;
- Healthcare – The UK will be protecting healthcare arrangements for EU citizens who will arrive in the United Kingdom before the cut-off date for UK citizens living in the EU;
- Healthcare Insurance – The UK will protect a UK European Health Insurance Card (EHIC), so that British citizens may be able to continue benefiting from free temporary health care while living in the EU;
- Student Loans – EU citizens arriving before the cut-off date will continue to remain eligible for student loans, and home fee status similar to persons with settled status in the UK.