EU expats in UK off the hook as regards rights to remain

Published:  28 Nov at 6 PM
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The British government has finally outlined the measures by which EU expats may apply for settled status when Brexit is finalised.

The statement from the government went as far as to promise expats will not be rejected due to minor technicalities and even said the vast majority of EU expats who wish to stay in the UK will be granted leave to do so. The announcement comes after many months of rumours, denials and flat-out refusals to keep EU expats informed of their rights, and the deal also includes statutory rights of appeal for all those who are refused.

Exactly how the new rules will work is contained in a technical document delivered to the EU as part of the Brexit negotiations, and the government is claiming the process will be inexpensive, easy to use and extremely effective. It also obviates the need for EU expats to take out pricey private health insurance as a condition of their right to remain. David Davis told reporters everyone who wants to stay will be supported in their wish to gain settled status, adding the new system will be ‘streamlined and straightforward’.

Those applying will need to declare any criminal convictions, either in the UK or in their home countries, and the information will be verified via security records in the EU and UK. EU expats in Britain will be allowed two years to apply for settlement rights, but do not need to do anything at present. According to Home Secretary Amber Rudd, EU expats make huge contributions to the British economy, adding ‘we want them to stay’. She stated application will be digital and EU citizens will be consulted as to the format and design of the web page.

It’s certain today’s announcement will put fears to rest for the hundreds of thousands of EU expats living and working in the UK. However, no concrete statements nor any reassurances have been made to allay the equally valid fears of EU expats living, working and retiring in Europe. If the EU accepts the document as satisfying its requirements for its own nationals, it’s time for European countries which have benefited from UK expats’ expertise, money and other contributions for years to step up to the plate and guarantee their rights in a similar manner.
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