Post-Brexit Government Proposal for EU Citizens Living in the UK
This post relates to the British Government’s Policy Paper: Safeguarding the Position of EU Citizens Living in the UK and UK Nationals Living in the EU, published on June 26, 2017, and explains: the Context of the British Offer, What’s The British Offer? Issues Not Entirely Clear So far, and an outline and links to the Policy Paper.
The Context of the British Offer
The British PM Theresa May revealed details of her proposals on June 26, 2017, for the rights of EU nationals hoping and intending to remain in the UK after the UK’s departure from the EU.
The Policy Paper published on June 26, 2017, showed the UK’s offer regarding estimated 3.2 million EU nationals in the UK, who have faced enormous uncertainty since Britain voted to leave the EU in June 2016.
The other half of the Brexit Deal would have to come from the EU negotiators on how the EU will be treating an estimated 900,000 or so British nationals who are intending to have a long-term residence in any of the EU states.
The British government has always opined that its first priority is to reassure EU citizens of their future while simultaneously reaching a reciprocal deal for British nationals living in the member EU states.
What’s The British Offer?
- Families will not split up: The UK Government insists that there is a predominant likelihood that no families will be split up when the UK leaves the EU. However, the Britsh Government advice is that all EU nationals and their dependant family members must obtain an immigration status in the UK irrespective of when the EU Citizens have arrived in Britain. Therefore, the EU Citizens will need to seek permission to remain in the UK through the Home Office, which has the authority and the responsibility of granting a residency document in the UK.
- Introducing a New System – ‘Settled Status:’ For EU nationals who have lived in the UK for five (5) years on a continuous basis, there is an opportunity to acquire a “settled status,” which would allow them to have the same rights as British nationals.
- Who’s eligible? EU nationals who have lived/resided in the UK for under five (5) years will be permitted to remain until they have reached the five (5)-year point. Those who arrive in Britain after the cut-off date but before Britain leaves the EU will be granted a “grace period,” expected to be two (2) years. That “grace period” will allow EU citizens to clarify their respective immigration status and ensure they are able to seek a settled status in the UK.
- What benefits? The new status will facilitate EU citizens to remain in the UK and enjoy the same rights as Britons regarding access to healthcare, welfare, education, and pensions.
- Is ‘Settled Status’ the Same as Brtish Citizenship? No. The eligible applicants can apply for citizenship after six (6) years of residency in the UK. The settled status could be lost if the person is out of the UK for two (2) or more years.
- What’s the deal with spouses? According to the new immigration rules introduced in 2012, the UK partner — a British citizen or recognised refugee — must have a min annual income of £18,600 (approx $23,000) for the spouse to live with them, if the husband/wife comes from outside the European Economic Area (EEA). Now, this will also apply to the citizens of the European Union as well.
- What’s the deal with Ireland? The British Government has stated that one of its main priorities is to strike a deal with the European Union over the state of the border between Northern Ireland and the Republic of Ireland. The British Government has also pledged to protect the Common Travel Area (CTA) with Ireland.
Issues Not Entirely Clear So far
- A No Deal Scenario: This entire pledge on EU citizens in the United Kingdom could be superfluous if no deal on Brexit is anticipated. A no-deal scenario could leave both EU nations in the UK and UK citizens in the member EU states in a limbo and add more anxiety and uncertainty yet.
- Cut off date: The deadline for eligibility has yet to be determined which leaves yet more questions over when the five (5) year period of eligibility will be measured from. It is likely to be anytime b/w Mar 29, 2017, and Mar 29, 2019.
- Can ‘settled status’ residents vote? While the policy paper sets out that those with a settled status will enjoy the same rights as Britons, it does not clarify whether or not they would be allowed to vote in British elections.
Policy Paper | Safeguarding the Position of EU Citizens
- Paragraph 1-12 | Summary Proposals
- 13-16 | Detailed Proposals
- 17-22 | A New Status in UK Law
- 23-26 | Avoiding a cliff-edge
- Example Case Study: EU Citizen with five (5) years’ residence before the UK’s withdrawal from the EU
- 27-28 | EU citizens who were resident before the specified date
- Example case study: EU citizen who arrived before the specified date and has not completed five (5) years’ residence before the United Kingdom’s withdrawal from the EU
- Example case study: Citizens of European Union who arrived before the specified date but has not completed five (5) years’ residence by the end of the grace period
- 28-31 | Family Members
- Example case study: child born to EU citizen parents qualifying for settled status
- 32-34 | EU citizens who arrive after the specified date
- Example case study: EU citizen who has arrived after the specified date
- 35-37 | Application Process
- 38-39 | Voluntary Scheme to Obtain Settled Status Before the UK’s Departure
- Figure 1: Illustration of the government’s policy – providing continuity of immigration rights for citizens of the European Union and their families following the Britain’s exit from the EU.
- 40-44 | Benefits, Pensions and Social Security Contributions
- 40-41 | Benefits access in the UK
- 42-42 | Export of UK benefits to the EU
- 43-43 | Coordination of social security systems between the UK and EU
- 44-44 | Pension up-rating
- 45-46 | Public Services
- 47-49 | Healthcare
- Example case study: UK citizens currently residing in EU Member State with a UK-insured healthcare
- 50-54 | Education
- Example case study: EU nations intending to study in the UK universities
- 55-57 | Economic and Other Relevant Rights
- 58-58 | Legal Status and Enforceability
- 59-59 | Further information
- Glossary (of Terms)
- Common Travel Area (CTA)
- EU citizen
- Free movement
- Indefinite leave to remain (ILR)
- Leave to remain
- Permanent residence
- Right to reside
- UK nationals
- UK-insured individual