Worcester MP Robin Walker has welcomed news that the Government has published detailed proposals outlining how it intends to protect the rights of EU citizens in the UK and UK nationals in the EU.
Sitting alongside the Prime Minister in his capacity as Parliamentary Under Secretary for Exiting the European Union, Robin hailed the ‘fair and serious offer’ to maintain to maintain EU citizens’ rights, which will be enshrined in UK law. On Tuesday (27th June), Robin met with MEPs from across the EU in Brussels to discuss the offer and our future relationship.
The Prime Minister made it clear these proposals should be part of a reciprocal agreement for EU citizens in the UK and UK nationals in Europe, which the government wants to agree as quickly as possible.
In its policy paper, ‘Safeguarding the position of EU citizens in the UK and UK nationals living in the EU’, the Government makes clear how EU citizens looking to remain in the UK can do so.
The paper confirms the creation of a new ‘settled status’ for EU citizens who arrive before a cut-off date, which is yet to be specified and will be agreed as part of the negotiations with the EU.
Applicants who already have 5 years’ continuous residence in the UK will be immediately eligible for settled status. Those who arrived before the specified date but do not yet meet the 5 year threshold by exit day will be allowed to stay until they reach that milestone and can also secure settled status.
Those EU citizens who are granted settled status will be treated like a comparable UK national, entitled to broadly the same rights and benefits.
And a grace period of up to 2 years will be in place for all EU citizens, including those who arrive after the cut-off date, allowing them to regularise their status to remain in the country.
The paper also 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.
Speaking on publication of the proposals, the Prime Minister said:
“EU citizens are an integral part of the economic, cultural and social fabric of our country and I have always been clear that I want to protect their rights.
“That is why I initially sought an agreement on this before we triggered Article 50. And it is why I am making it an immediate priority at the beginning of the negotiations.
“That agreement must be reciprocal because we must protect the rights of UK citizens living in the EU too.
“Our offer will give those 3 million EU citizens in the UK certainty about the future of their lives. And a reciprocal agreement will provide the same certainty for the more than 1 million UK citizens who are living in the European Union.”
“Now that negotiations on the UK’s exit from the European Union have begun, I know that providing certainty on the status and rights of EU citizens in the UK, as well as UK nationals in the EU, is of great importance.
“EU citizens have made and continue to make innumerable contributions to the economic, cultural and social life of the UK – something much in evidence in such a vibrant and diverse city as Worcester. We want to offer them certainty about their status and be absolutely clear that no EU citizen currently in the UK lawfully will have to leave at the point that we leave the EU. We also want EU citizens living in the UK and UK citizens living in the EU27 to be able to carry on with their lives as before.”
“There is much common ground in what we and the EU are trying to achieve on securing the status of EU and UK citizens’ rights, and I am confident we can reach agreement early in the negotiations.”
“I would encourage those of my constituents who may be affected by these proposals to read the Government’s factsheet for full information on what these changes might mean for them and their families. However, it is important to be clear that EU citizens in the UK do not need to do anything now, including applying for documents confirming their permanent residence status.”
“I know there are a great many EU citizens living and working in Worcester who contribute an enormous amount to the life of our city, and I am sure they will welcome this reassurance. Likewise, there are many UK nationals from Worcester living across the EU states who deserve a strong reciprocal arrangement, and I look forward to us agreeing this with the EU as quickly as possible.”
Notes to editors
The Government’s full policy document, ‘Safeguarding the position of EU citizens in the UK and UK nationals living in the EU’, can be downloaded at: https://www.gov.uk/government/uploads/system/uploads/attachment_data/file/621848/60093_Cm9464_NSS_SDR_Web.pdf
The Government has also established a dedicated guidance page, where you can sign up for email updates on any future changes, at https://www.gov.uk/guidance/status-of-eu-nationals-in-the-uk-what-you-need-to-know