At a European council summit dinner last week, Theresa May outlined the UK’s offer to secure the rights of EU citizens in the UK. The key points have been reported as follow:
- EU citizens with 5 years’ residence in the UK before a cut-off point (expected to be no later than BREXIT day) will be eligible for a ‘settled status’ category allowing the same rights to education, healthcare, pensions and benefits as other UK citizens.
- Those already in the UK with less than 5 years’ residence and who arrive lawfully before the cut-off point will be able to continue to reside in the UK to acquire their settled status. Details of a two year ‘grace period’ following the cut-off point remain unclear.
The offer is conditional on a reciprocal deal for 1.5 million British citizens living elsewhere in the EU.
The UK’s opening position is arguably a positive step towards an agreement in principle – Angela Merkel has described it as a ‘good start’.
The Prime Minister has emphasised that she does not want anyone already in the UK to be forced to leave or families to be split up but these finer details are not detailed here.
More information will be provided as the talks progress.