EU expats in the UK mount right to remain campaign

Published:  24 Nov at 6 PM
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In spite of the recent good news on a possible reciprocal agreement covering both UK expats overseas and EU expats in the UK, a grassroots campaign backing EU expats’ rights to remain is still gathering members.

A recently-formed pressure group working for non- British EU nationals living and working in the UK now has in excess of 7,000 members and is planning a protest in December. ‘The 3 Million’ is the brainchild of French former marketing manager Nicolas Hatton, who’s married to a Brit and has lived in the UK for 21 years.

Hatton was convinced the Brexit vote would go against Britain’s leaving the EU, and was shocked when he realised he and many thousands more might have to leave due to a vote in which they’d not been allowed to take part. A slogan on the group’s web page reads, ‘We are not bargaining chips, we are people’ - a reaction to a ministerial statement that EU expats would be a main card in negotiations.

A good number of EU expats who’ve lived in Britain for more than five years are attempting to become permanent residents, the initial step of becoming a British citizen. According to Hatton, the process is a bureaucratic nightmare including an 85-page application form, with only 60 per cent of applicants being successful. He states the process is immoral, adding people should not be treated like that.

Together with other groups including New Europeans, Hatton is lobbying parliamentary lawmakers in an attempt to have them approve a law allowing EU expats the freedom to live, work, retire, study and access healthcare services in the UK. He’s hoping the upcoming Supreme Court hearing will confirm the High Court’s recent decision and allow a parliamentary vote before Article 50 can be triggered.

Should the result confirm the need for a parliamentary vote, Hatton will attempt to introduce an amendment securing full rights for all EU member state citizens living in the UK. He doesn’t believe in the government’s optimistic stance about post-Brexit Britain, saying it’s a fairy tale looking to turn into a nightmare.
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