On June 26, the Government published a paper setting out their “offer for EU citizens in the UK”, and UK nationals in the EU.
At this stage, the UK remains a full member of the EU and all the rights and obligations of EU membership remain in place until the withdrawal process is complete. This means that there will be no change to the rights and status of EU citizens living in the UK, nor UK nationals living in the EU, during this time. There is no need for EU citizens to take any action or apply for any documentation now to confirm their status or right to be here.
The UK government’s offer for EU citizens is:
- People who have been continuously living here for 5 years will be able to apply to stay indefinitely by getting ‘settled status’. That means these citizens will be free to live here, have access to public funds and services and may apply for British citizenship.
- People who arrived before the cut-off date, but won’t have been here for 5 years when the UK leaves the EU, will be able to apply to stay until they have reached the 5 year threshold. They can then also apply for settled status.
- People who arrive after the cut-off date will be able to apply for permission to remain after the UK leaves the EU, under the future immigration arrangements for EU citizens.
- Family dependants who are living with or join EU citizens before the UK’s exit will also be able to apply for settled status after 5 years in the UK. In these cases the cut-off date won’t apply.
The cut-off date will be agreed during the negotiations but it is clear that it will not be earlier than 29 March 2017 (the date Article 50 was triggered) or later than the date the UK leaves the EU.
The government’s intention is to provide EU citizens with settled status and temporary permission to stay. They will continue to have broadly the same access as they currently do toward healthcare, education, benefits and pensions.
We will continue to keep you updated with any developments as they occur, including the process for applying for a residence permit.