EU to restrict UK expats residency rights post Brexit

Published:  11 Aug at 6 PM
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According to David Davis, the European Union is planning to restrict residency rights for British expats living in European member states once the Brexit divorce is finalised.

In a report issued by the UK’s chief Brexit negotiator David Davis, the EU’s stance on Britons living in Europe will only allow the right to remain if expat Brits are already living in Europe by March 2019, the official date of Britain’s leaving the EU. Davis’s report was presented to the House of Lords’ EU committee last Wednesday, and will do little to reassure British citizens already settled in Europe as well as those still planning to emigrate.

Furthermore, the report states the EU’s stance gives no guarantee that UK expats who are granted residence rights will be able to gain free movement to other EU member states for work or study. For example, a Spanish citizen living and working in the UK in March 2019 would still be able to move on to any other EU member state of his or her choice, whilst UK citizens living in Spain would only be able to stay put or return to the UK.

Davis adds UK negotiators are questioning their opposite numbers as to whether this specific offer is consistent with both the EU commission’s desire to protect expats’ rights as they stand at present under EU law and the much vaunted principles of reciprocity. The issues, he adds, is to be the subject of further discussion in the future. A further restrictive EU decision is that UK expatriates living and working in Europe will not be allowed to vote in elections after Brexit.

Concurrent with Davis’s letter, Theresa May is to detail her proposals for safeguarding EU expats’ post-Brexit rights in the UK. A full statement is expected within the next few days, and May will brief EU leaders on its contents during an upcoming summit meeting in Brussels. Essentials such as the continuance of reciprocal healthcare, the right to own property and pension issues have not been discussed to date.
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