LONDON, June 26 (Reuters) - Britain’s Theresa May set out her plans for immigrants from EU countries on Monday, saying that all those legally in Britain before a certain cut-off date would be allowed to stay and apply for permanent residence rights.
Below are the proposed new guidelines:
- Until Britain leaves the European Union, EU citizens living in the UK will continue to enjoy the rights they have under EU Treaties.
- Once Britain has left the EU, it will create new rights in UK law for qualifying EU citizens resident in the country before the departure. The Court of Justice of the European Union will not have jurisdiction in the UK.
- Qualifying EU citizens will have to apply for residence status. The administrative process will be modernised and the application process will be a separate legal scheme, in UK law.
- Qualifying individuals will be granted ‘settled status’ in UK law, or indefinite leave to remain. This means they will be free to reside in any capacity, to access public funds and services and to apply for British citizenship.
- To qualify, an EU citizen must have been resident in the UK before a specified date and must have completed a period of five years’ continuous residence in the UK before applying for settled status, at which point they must still be resident.
- Those EU citizens who became resident before the specified date but who have not accrued five years’ continuous residence at the time of the UK’s exit will be able to apply for temporary status in order to remain resident in the UK until they have accumulated five years.
After five years they will be eligible to apply for settled status.
- Those EU citizens who arrived after the specified date will be allowed to remain in the UK for at least a temporary period and may become eligible to settle permanently depending on their circumstances.
- Family dependants who join a qualifying EU citizen in the UK before the UK’s exit will be able to apply for settled status after five years.
- Those joining after the exit will be subject to the same rules as those joining British citizens or alternatively to the post-exit immigration arrangements for EU citizens who arrive after the specified date.
- The ‘specified date’ will be no earlier than the 29 March 2017, the date the formal Article 50 process for exiting the EU was triggered, and no later than the date of the UK’s withdrawal from the EU.
- The Government says it is considering a range of options as to how EU migration will work for new arrivals post-exit and will publish proposals in the future to allow businesses and individuals enough time to prepare.
- Britain will discuss similar arrangements with Iceland, Liechtenstein, Norway and Switzerland (the European Free Trade Association (EFTA) States) on a reciprocal basis. (Reporting by Kate Holton and Elizabeth Piper; Editing by Toby Chopra)