When we leave the European Union, EU citizens will have their rights written into UK law. This will be done through the Withdrawal Agreement and Implementation Bill which the Government will bring forward after we have completed negotiations on the Withdrawal Agreement itself.
EU citizens’ rights will then be enforced by UK courts. Where appropriate, our courts will pay due regard to relevant ECJ case law, and Ministers have also agreed that for a period of eight years - where existing case law is not clear - our courts will be able to choose to ask the ECJ for an interpretation prior to reaching their own decision. Ministers have agreed with the European Commission that they will introduce a new settled status scheme under UK law for EU citizens and their family members, covered by the Withdrawal Agreement.
If someone already has five years of continuous residence in the UK at the point we leave the EU – on 29 March 2019 – they will be eligible for settled status. And if someone has been here for less than five years they will be able to stay, until they have reached the five year threshold.
As a result of the agreement have reached, with settled status, close family members will be free to join an EU citizen here in the UK after we have left the EU. This includes existing spouses, unmarried partners, children, dependent parents and grandparents, as well as children born or adopted outside of the UK after 29 March 2019.
EU citizens’ healthcare rights, pension and other benefit provisions will remain the same as they are today. This means that those who have paid into the UK system – and indeed UK nationals who have paid into the system of an EU Member State – can benefit from what they have put in and continue to benefit from existing co-ordination rules for future contributions.
Ministers have also agreed to protect the rights of those who are in a cross-border situation at the point of our withdrawal and entitled to a UK European Health Insurance Card. This includes, for example, tourists for the duration of their stay, students for the duration of their course and UK nationals resident in another EU Member State.
The agreement reached includes reciprocal rules to protect existing decisions to recognise professional qualifications – for example for doctors and architects. And it also enables someone to be absent from the UK for up to five years without losing their settled status – more than double the period allowed under current EU law.
There will be a new, simplified process to enable people to apply for settled status from the second half of next year. It will cost no more than applying for a passport. And if someone already has a valid permanent resident document they will be able to have their status converted to settled status, free of charge.
Ministers are also working closely with Switzerland and EEA Member States to ensure their citizens in the UK also benefit from these arrangements.
So right now, someone who is an EU citizen does not have to do anything at all. They can look forward, safe in the knowledge that there is now a detailed agreement on the table in which the UK and the EU have set out how we intend to preserve your rights – as well as the rights of UK nationals living in EU countries.
If Chamber members have queries DEXEU (the Department for Exiting the European Union) is the lead department. The following link provides current information for EU citizens living in the UK and is regularly updated, yesterday been the most recent. https://www.gov.uk/guidance/status-of-eu-nationals-in-the-uk-what-you-need-to-know
General enquiries can be sent to DEXEU via email on:
Or post to:
9 Downing Street
Mark Prisk FRICS MP