Brexit Negotiations

EU citizens arriving in the UK during the implementation period

Following the release of the Draft Withdrawal Agreement by the EU, a policy paper has been released by the Home Office regarding EU Citizens arriving in the UK during the proposed implementation period.

The UK and the EU are currently negotiating the terms of an implementation period to commence after our withdrawal from the EU. The purpose of such a period is to give people, businesses, and public services in the UK and across the EU the time they need to put in place the new arrangements that will be required to adjust to our future partnership.

EU citizens and their family members will be able to move to the UK during the implementation period on the same basis as they do today, which will be given effect through the Withdrawal Agreement. This means that there will be no new constraints on working or studying in the UK in the implementation period. This will
also be the case for UK nationals moving to the EU during this period.
We will put in place a registration system for EU citizens and their family members who arrive in the UK during the implementation period and choose to stay for more than three months. This will help the Government to prepare for our future immigration framework by developing a better understanding of those coming to the
country longer term. The registration system will be straightforward and streamlined, and compatible with EU Directive 2004/38/EC (Article 8).

These proposals are without prejudice to Common Travel Area arrangements, including the rights of British and Irish citizens in each other’s country. Irish citizens will not be subject to the agreement and therefore will not need to register.

The UK will offer EU citizens and their family members who arrive, are resident and have registered, during the implementation period:

– eligibility after the accumulation of five years’ continuous and lawful residence to apply for indefinite leave to remain

– a temporary status in UK law that will enable them to stay after the implementation period has concluded. This means that they will be able to remain lawfully in the UK working, studying or being self-sufficient for the five years needed to obtain settlement.

– an opportunity to secure this temporary status during the implementation period, with an additional three month window for applications after the period, ensuring that there is no cliff-edge.

– the ability for these EU citizens to be joined by family members after the implementation period on a par with British citizens

– for those EU citizens frontier working in the UK during the implementation period, the opportunity to obtain permission to continue this after the period ends.

These rights will be enforceable in the UK legal system. They will apply equally to all EU citizens who arrive during the implementation period, and the UK will not treat citizens of one Member State differently to those of another.

The arrangements that will apply to UK citizens who move to EU Member States during the implementation period will be for determination by Member States and we encourage Member States to mirror the UK’s offer in their own arrangements.

This seems to be a concession accepting the demands by the EU that the agreement covering Citizens Rights be extended to the end of the Implementation (Transition) period rather than the date of withdrawal, but does not concede to the demand for gorvernance by the ECJ (European Court of Justice).


Settled Status for Iceland, Liechtenstein and Norway citizens

Discussions have started to grant residents from Iceland, Liechtenstein and Norway similar rights post-Brexit as those from EU Member States as engagement between the UK and the EEA EFTA members intensifies.

Following on from the agreement reached in December to secure the rights of the 3 million EU citizens living in the UK and the 1 million UK citizens living in the 27 Member States, government officials have met with their EEA EFTA counterparts in order to extend the deal to each other’s citizens.

The deal, which covers residency, healthcare, pensions, mutual recognition of professional qualifications and other benefits could be extended to the 18,000 Norwegian nationals, 2,000 Icelandic nationals and 40 Liechtenstein nationals living in the UK, and the 15,000 UK nationals in Norway, 800 in Iceland and 60 in Liechtenstein.

EEA EFTA citizens are covered by free movement provisions through the EEA EFTA states’ membership of the EEA Agreement. This allows them to currently move to the UK and other EU states, and similarly UK citizens are currently able to move to the three EEA EFTA states.

Following their meeting the UK and EEA EFTA countries issued the following joint-statement:

Officials from the EEA EFTA States (Iceland, Liechtenstein and Norway) and the United Kingdom met on 12 February 2018 to discuss the agreement reached by the United Kingdom and the European Union on citizens’ rights in December 2017. Positive discussions on these issues took place at the meeting and the parties affirmed their desire to secure the status and protect the rights of UK nationals living in Iceland, Norway and Liechtenstein and nationals of those countries living in the UK.

Brexit Negotiations

UK proposals on rights of EU citizens

On 26 June 2017, the UK Government published their detailed proposals for protecting the rights of EU citizens in the UK and UK nationals in the EU following Brexit.

These proposals will form part of the Brexit negotiations with the EU.

The plans are outlined in a policy document at

Safeguarding the position of EU citizens in the UK and UK nationals living in the EU (pdf)

In summary,

It is expected that the UK will remain a member of the EU until March 2019 and 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.

A new “settled status” will be created for EU citizens who arrive in the UK before a yet-to-be-specified cut-off date. The cut-off date will be determined as part of the UK / EU Brexit negotiations.

Applicants who already have 5 years’ continuous residence in the UK will be immediately eligible (to apply) for “settled status

Those who arrived before the cut-off 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.

EU citizens who are granted settled status in the UK will be treated like a comparable UK national, entitled to broadly the same rights and benefits.

A grace period of up to 2 years will be in place for all EU citizens, including those who arrive in the UK after the cut-off date, allowing them to regularise their status to remain in the country.

These rights will be enshrined into UK, not EU, law, and will be enforced through the UK judicial system.

After the UK leaves the EU, EU citizens in the UK will be asked to make an application to the Home Office for a residence document demonstrating their new settled status. This will be a legal requirement. The on-line application process is expected to be running in 2018.

The Government expects the EU and its member states to make the same commitment to British nationals living in Europe.

The rights of British and Irish citizens in each other’s countries are rooted in the Ireland Act 1949 and not impacted by the proposals. The arrangements between both countries pre-date our respective memberships of the EU. As such, Irish citizens residing in the UK will not need to apply for settled status to protect their entitlements.

EU Citizen Rights Policy Factsheet (pdf)