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Brexit and Europe Brexit and Europe

Secure the entitlements of EU nationals in Britain

Last updated: 02:24pm 14 October 2019

We will […] secure the entitlements of EU nationals in Britain…

Conservative Party Manifesto 2017, p.36

Our verdict

This is about citizens’ rights – specifically for those 3.2 million people from another EU country who live in the UK.

We’re interpreting “secure the entitlements” as ensure there are no negative changes to entitlements.

Currently this biggest influence on this policy is whether the UK leaves the EU with an agreement (a ‘deal’), or without an agreement.

In November 2018 the government did reach a draft agreement with the EU, but this was subsequently rejected by Parliament in January 2019. Within that agreement, the key points for EU nationals in the UK were:

  • UK citizens in the EU, and EU citizens in the UK, will retain their residency and social security rights after Brexit.
  • Citizens who take up residency in another EU country during the transition period (including the UK) will be allowed to stay in that country after the transition.
  • Anyone that stays in the same EU country for five years will be allowed to apply for permanent residence.

So, given that deal has been rejected, what happens if a new deal can’t be agreed? Well, the key question for EU nationals in the UK is over ‘settled status’. Settled Status is the right to unrestricted residence in the UK, and to be eligible you usually need to have lived in the UK for at least 6 months in any year, for 5 years in a row. It doesn’t look like this will change if the the UK leaves without a deal, but there are concerns over how long it will take to process applications for those who want it – potentially leaving them exposed with no clear residency status. The government has also confirmed it “will seek to end free movement as soon as possible”.

We won’t be able to reach a final conclusion until we know the final terms of our exit from the EU. We’ll publish developments as they happen. This is ‘in progress’. Follow this policy for updates.

Secure the detail

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