On the 26th of June 2017, a year after the Brexit referendum was held, the UK government released its proposals on the post-Brexit rights of EU citizens living in the United Kingdom.
This new information is intended to provide EU citizens with more certainty on their continuing status as UK residents. The key points are as follows:
A new ‘Settled Status’
EU citizens who have been lawfully and continuously resident in the UK for five years or more will be eligible to apply for a new ‘Settled Status’. Citizens with this status will be free to live here, and will be treated as UK citizens for the purposes of healthcare, benefits and pensions.
EU citizens who have lived here for less than five years, but who arrived before the (still undetermined) cut-off date, will be given a grace period where they can apply for leave to stay. Once they have been resident for five years, they too can apply for ‘Settled Status’.
Those who have already gone through the process of applying for permanent residency will have to reapply to gain the ‘Settled Status’.
The government expects that the offer will be extended to resident nationals of Norway, Iceland, Lichtenstein, and Switzerland as well.
Irish nationals will not need to apply for a new status.
The Cut-Off Date
The cut-off date will be decided during the Brexit negotiations, but the government has stated that it will be no earlier than the 29th of March 2017 (the date Article 50 was triggered) or later than March 2019 (when the UK is set to leave the EU). Citizens arriving after this date will be allowed to stay temporarily, but will be subject to the future immigration arrangement for EU citizens.
What happens now?
The government has said that the status of EU citizens in the UK will not change while the UK remains in the EU, so there is no need to do anything until further information is released.