EU expats in UK get no Brexit deal right to remain

Published:  20 Aug at 6 PM
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According to a leaked cabinet paper, EU expats living in the UK are to be given the right to stay even if Brexit negotiations result in a no-deal exit. '

In what is being referred to as a decision taken from the moral high ground, EU expats in the UK will not only be allowed to stay in the event of a hard Brexit, they will also be allowed to bring in their spouses and close family members. According to the cabinet paper, the decision has been taken out of fear of labour shortages in a number of sectors. The offer will be set out as part of 83 pages of technical information detailing no-deal contingency plans, and also states EU citizens’ rights as a crucial aspect of no-deal plans.

In the event of a no-deal crash out of the European Union, all 3.8 million EU citizens living in the UK at the time of the exit will continue to have access to the National Health Service, pensions and benefits, as will their spouses and close family members, should they wish to come to the UK. The promise unilaterally implements the immigration section of the Citizens’ Rights agreement set in December last year. Politicians are up in arms about the decision, saying it must be reciprocal as there are a large number of British citizens living in Europe who must be protected by similar legislation.

The leaked document comes at a time when calls for either a second referendum or a peoples’ vote on the agreed terms are increasing, with polls showing a turn towards reversing or even cancelling the Brexit referendum. As the possible consequences of leaving the EU are now becoming clear, organisations such as Peoples’ Vote are upping their calls for citizen participation on the basis of ‘informed consent’ or ‘informed rejection’. The campaign group’s plan is urging a second referendum on the final Brexit terms, to take place after May has completed negotiations. Reaction to the leaked document from campaign groups representing UK expats in Europe hasn’t yet been received.
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