Since the vote to leave the EU a year ago, millions of EU citizens living in the UK, and about a million UK expats in other EU states have been living in a state of uncertainty about their future.
Ministers have now given details of what EU citizens can expect after Brexit but make clear that their offer is based on the expectation that the other 27 EU members give reciprocal guarantees for British expats living on the continent.
The UK Government have proposed that EU citizens who have lived in the UK for five years (from an as yet unknown date) will have the rights to ‘settled EU status’ which will mean the right to live in the UK and to access services such as the NHS. This status will not be available automatically and anyone who qualifies will have to apply for their residence status.
Those who have not yet reached five years would be entitled to apply for continued residence on a temporary basis and to stay on until they reach the threshold for settled status.
Rights under the new “settled” status will also apply to family members living elsewhere, including children, if they come to the UK before Brexit and apply on the same basis.
For those who arrive after Brexit, they will be subject to the same rules that currently apply to foreign family members joining British citizens from abroad.
Opinion is divided as to whether this is a good set of proposals for individuals, with some saying it is a good start whilst others criticising the proposals for not going nearly far enough.
Image credit: Yanni Koutsomitis, Flickr