It has been almost a year since Article 50 of the Lisbon Treaty was triggered and both EU citizens living in the UK and UK citizens living in the EU have been wondering about what will happen to their residency status once the United Kingdom leaves the European Union. The truth is that no one knows for sure what will actually happen.
Theresa May confirms commitment to rights of EU nationals in the UK; and vice versa
The UK Prime Minister, Theresa May, recently travelled to Brussels to meet the leaders of the 28 nations in the EU. Following this meeting, she has confirmed that her priority is to safeguard the rights of EU nationals living in the UK and UK nationals living in the EU:
“But this agreement will not only provide certainty about residence, but also healthcare, pensions and other benefits. It will mean that EU citizens who have paid into the UK system – and UK nationals into the system of an EU27 country – can benefit from what they’ve put in. It will enable families who have built their lives together in the EU and UK to stay together.
“[…] we are united on the key principles, and that the focus over the weeks to come will be delivering an agreement that works for people here in the UK, and people in the EU.”
She stated that EU nationals living lawfully in the UK today and their family members will be able to stay as they have been contributing to the UK and have built their family life in the country.
Furthermore, Mrs. May has addressed that the Withdrawal Agreement will provide certainty about the right to reside in the UK, healthcare, pensions and other benefits for EU citizens who have paid into the UK system, and vice versa, for UK nationals into the system of an EU27 State.
A more streamlined application process
She also mentioned that the UK government is looking forward to developing a streamlined digital process for those applying for settled status in the UK in the future. This system is claimed to be as un-bureaucratic as possible and will cost no more than the UK passport (£72.50 for an adult).
Most importantly, Prime Minister May has confirmed that applicants will not have to account for every trip they have taken in and out of the UK and not have to demonstrate Comprehensive Sickness Insurance.
For those EU citizens who hold Permanent Residence, there will be a simple process allowing them to swap
their status for UK settled status (Indefinite Leave to Remain). Moreover, a User Group will be created and composed of representatives of EU citizens in the UK, and digital, technical and legal experts. This Group will be in charge of ensuring the transparency and efficiency of the new process.
Finally, according to Theresa May, the UK government is keen to work closely with the European Union (EU) to ensure their processes are “equally streamlined”.
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