The UK has published its proposal for safeguarding the position of EU citizens living in the UK and UK nationals living in the EU.
The proposal gives some insight into how the UK Government sees this working in a post-Brexit Europe. The UK is proposing a reciprocal system whereby EU citizens in the UK should be treated in the same way as UK nationals should be treated in the EU. The proposal requires new legislation on both sides and negotiations have just started.
Some of the main features of the UK proposal are:
- Qualifying EU citizens will have to apply for residence status in the UK under a separate legal scheme.
- All qualifying EU citizens will be given adequate time to apply for their new residence status after Brexit.
- Qualifying individuals will be granted “settled” status, meaning that they will be free to reside in any capacity, undertake any lawful activity, access public funds and services and apply for British citizenship (under the normal rules applicable).
- In order to qualify, EU citizens must have been resident in the UK before a specified date, and must have completed a period of 5 years’ continuous residence in the UK before they apply for “settled” status.
- EU citizens who arrived in the UK before the specified date, but have not yet accrued 5 years’ continuous residence will be able to apply for temporary status in order to remain resident in the UK so that they will be able to apply for “settled” status.
- EU citizens arriving in the UK after the specified date may become eligible to settle permanently in the UK depending on their circumstances, but will not be guaranteed “settled” status.
- The specified date should be no earlier than 29 March 2017 and no later than when the UK leaves the EU.
- In relation to benefits, pensions, healthcare, economic and other rights, EU citizens with “settled” status will continue to have access to such rights on the same basis as a comparable UK national under UK domestic law.
As stated above, the UK proposal is based on reciprocity, ie that the EU will grant UK nationals the same status in the EU as the UK will grant EU citizens in the UK. It remains to be seen whether or not this would mean that any UK nationals would be charged to tax in Malta on a world-wide basis.
We will follow the negotiations closely and will publish updates when there is any new information available.
In the meantime, should you have any questions or queries about the above or any other residence matter, please do not hesitate to contact Thomas Jacobsen on firstname.lastname@example.org for more information.