IMPACT – MEDIUM
What is the change? A report by a cross-party parliamentary Committee on Exiting the EU said that the government should unilaterally guarantee the right to permanent residence for the approximately 3.2 million EU nationals already in the U.K., as well as setting a cutoff date as soon as possible for new EU arrivals so it will be clear who will be eligible to accrue a right to permanent residence after five years. The committee also urged the government to publish its timetable for the next Immigration Bill as soon as possible.
What does the change mean? The report was unanimous and adds further political weight to the growing chorus of support for EU citizens to be guaranteed their rights to reside before official Brexit negotiations begin.
Background: The report was the result of an inquiry into the government’s negotiating objectives regarding EU citizens in the U.K. and U.K. citizens in the EU ahead of Article 50 being triggered (currently set for March 31. Among the report’s key findings:
BAL Analysis: The committee urges immediate action on the status of EU nationals in the U.K. and seeks transparency as to the government’s intentions on future migration policy, a recommendation that, if adopted, would be enormously helpful. Residency applications are currently being rejected for reasons such as failure to hold comprehensive sickness insurance during periods of study or “self sufficiency” between jobs – requirements that European applicants were not made aware of previously – and therefore any drive to secure their rights based on the fact of residence rather than hard line legal interpretations or documentary rules is welcome. Nevertheless, the government has withstood previous requests for guarantees and with just weeks before negotiations begin, this latest report offers no certainty that guarantees will be given.
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