• United Kingdom - Prime Minister May Makes First Offer on the Rights of EU Nationals Residing in UK
  • June 27, 2017
  • As Brexit negotiations begin in Brussels, both the United Kingdom and the European Union have agreed that the resolution on the rights of EU nationals residing in the United Kingdom (and vice-versa) is a top priority. Establishing the relevant date on which the rights of EU nationals already in the United Kingdom are deemed to have been “cut-off” as a result of Brexit remains contentious.

    Settled Status for EU Nationals

    EU nationals residing in the United Kingdom are currently able to obtain settled status, otherwise known as Permanent Residence, by exercising treaty rights in the United Kingdom for five years - through, for example, working or studying.

    In a "fair and serious" initial offer, Prime Minister Theresa May has indicated that the United Kingdom would agree to a cut-off date sometime between March 29, 2017 (the date on which Article 50 was formally triggered) and March 28, 2019 (the date by which Brexit negotiations must be concluded). By the agreed cut-off date, EU nationals residing in the United Kingdom would still be able to obtain settled status as per the current law. It is anticipated that those arriving to the United Kingdom through the date of UK's departure from the EU would have a grace period to accrue the required period for the same settled status. The grace period is expected to be two years.

    The United Kingdom has made it clear that such an offer is entirely dependent on reciprocity from European Union Member States regarding the rights of UK nationals currently residing within the borders of the respective Member States.

    What This Means for Employers and Foreign Nationals

    Once the established cut-off date has passed, EU nationals coming to the United Kingdom would be subject to the respective immigration laws in place at that time, following the departure of the United Kingdom from the European Union.

    How the immigration system will look after the cut-off date remains a subject of much debate. However, it will be contingent on the UK government's recently renewed commitment to reduce net migration by the tens of thousands.