EU citizens living in the UK have more certainty about future
On 8 December it was announced that substantial progress had been made in Brexit talks, including confirmation of the rights of EU citizens who have exercised their right to free movement before the date of the UK's withdrawal from the EU.
Today (8 December 2017), EU citizens in the UK and UK nationals in the EU have more certainty about their future following an agreement on citizens' rights between the UK and the EU Commission.
Since the outset of the negotiations, the Prime Minister has been clear that safeguarding the rights of people who have built their lives in the UK and EU was her first priority.
Today's agreement (8 December 2017) (https://ec.europa.eu/commission/sites/beta-political/files/joint_report.pdf) delivers that commitment and follows months of negotiations with the EU. It will help the millions of EU citizens who have made their lives in this country, as well as UK citizens living in the EU, plan for the future as valued members of UK society.
It means that EU citizens living lawfully in the UK and UK nationals living lawfully in the EU by 29 March 2019 will be able to stay and enjoy broadly the same rights and benefits as they do now.
The agreement includes that:
- Close family members will be able to join after the UK has left the EU. This includes spouses, unmarried partners, children, grandchildren, dependent parents and grandparents. Children born or adopted outside of the UK after the 29 March 2019 will also be covered.
- People will be able to be absent from the UK for up to five years without losing settled status, more than double the level of absence allowed under current EU law. There will be the same reciprocal protection for UK nationals living in the EU.
- Professional qualifications (e.g. doctors and architects) will continue to be recognised where these are obtained before the date of the UK's departure from the EU.
- It will be easy to apply for settled status and there will be a full right of appeal.
- Those EU citizens who already hold a valid Permanent Residence document will be able to have their status converted to settled status free of charge.
This agreement also provides certainty on healthcare, pensions and other benefits. It will mean that EU citizens who have paid into the UK system can benefit from what they've already put in and continue to benefit from existing coordination rules for future contributions. Those covered by the agreement will be able to continue to receive healthcare as they do now.
There will be a transparent, smooth and streamlined process to enable EU citizens to apply for settled status starting in the latter half of next year for two years after the UK leaves the EU - from 2018 to 2021.
You can read more about settled status and citizens' rights here (https://eucitizensrights.campaign.gov.uk/). We will keep you up to date with more details, including the cost, opening date of the scheme and documentation you are likely to need, in the first half of 2018. It will be much simpler and quicker than applying for Permanent Residence, so EU citizens do not need to do anything at this stage.Statement from Home Office
For more information, see the UK government's website at https://www.gov.uk/guidance/status-of-eu-nationals-in-the-uk-what-you-need-to-know.