Leaked EU document warns backlash against UK expats overseas

Published:  14 Feb at 6 PM
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As the British government’s total lack of commitment to the plight of UK expats overseas and EU expats in the UK continues, applications for UK permanent residency continue to soar.

A leaked EU document is warning the British government’s poor treatment of EU expats in the UK could well result in a concerted backlash against British expats living elsewhere in Europe. The document, obtained by the Guardian newspaper, condemns the post-referendum treatment of foreign residents by UK authorities and points out that EU member states may well be tempted to reply in kind as regards the 1.2 million UK expats at present living in their states.

According to the leaked internal document, put together by the EU parliament’s committee for legal affairs, each member state will bear its own responsibility of deciding whether to allow British residents the right to remain. It adds that difficulties experienced by foreign nationals in the UK attempting to gain permanent residency, including those married to British citizens or born in the UK, may colour EU member states’ feelings on the issue.

Commenting on the contents of the document, Labour leader Jeremy Corbyn said the human cost of a hard Brexit would result in jobs, homes and families being the victims of a Tory-style divorce from Europe. Calling May’s stance a ‘Hunger Games approach’, he called on the government to ensure the freedom to remain for EU nationals in the UK. He added that failure to allow this would be tantamount to playing political games with human lives.

The government’s failure to commit to protecting EU nationals in the UK has resulted in a 50 per cent increase in EU citizens’ applications for permanent residency, with over 56,000 requesting the documentation between last June and September. Applicants are complaining about the complex nature of the 85-page forms and the required documentation, and some have been told to prepare to leave simply for forgetting to tick one box. A cross-party group of EU MPs is now investigating the complaints, with a parliamentary hearing including a UK minister expected later this week.
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