Since the Brexit vote one year ago, the destiny and the future of millions of EU citizens living in the UK, and about a million UK expats in other EU states has been covered with a veil of uncertainty.
Although full details are yet to be disclosed, the government outlined some of the main points contained within its proposal.
As the Brexit talks start in earnest the prime minister finally outlined her proposal for the status of EU nationals. During a dinner with other EU leaders in Brussels Mrs. May made her “fair and serious offer”.
It is understood that the Prime Minister intends that those citizens who have resided lawfully in the UK for at least five years will be permitted to remain and retain the same advantages as British citizens under the newly created status of “UK settled status”. The cut-off point for claiming UK settled status is yet to be set but is likely to be somewhere between March 2017 and March 2019; those individuals coming after the cut-off date will be granted a period of grace to allow them to apply for a work permit and find a job. The ability to claim UK settled status will apply right up to the cut-off date, including the day before.
Mrs May commented that she is keen to reassure EU nationals that she does not wish to see families torn apart and aimed to give as much certainty as possible to citizens who have settled in the UK, building careers and lives and contributing so much to our society. Despite Mrs May’s reassurance that she does not wish to see families split-up, it remains unclear whether extended families are included in the offer.
However, the offer the Prime Minister has advanced is not unilateral and will have to be met by a reciprocal deal from EU states.
There are a number of sticking points the UK and EU are not likely to agree on the date for the cut-off date or the scope of the individuals to be included or the position of non-EU family members.
The immediate re-action of Donald Tusk, the EU Council’s president, indicated that at first glance it was below expectations and may make the situation worse. What is most definitely certain, is the wish from both the UK and the EU to deal with this issue as a matter of priority.
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