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
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.