Tuesday

31st Jan 2023

UK pledges easy registration for EU citizens after Brexit

  • Most EU citizens would be able to remain in the UK after Brexit, London says (Photo: Guled Ahmed)

The British government on Tuesday (7 November) promised a streamlined process to help most EU citizens currently living in Britain remain after Brexit in 2019.

The UK published a paper setting out the details on how it wants to register the around three million EU citizens and their families after Brexit.

Read and decide

Join EUobserver today

Become an expert on Europe

Get instant access to all articles — and 20 years of archives. 14-day free trial.

... or subscribe as a group

The rights of EU citizens in the UK and UK citizens in the EU is one of the key issues in Brexit talks.

The paper says that EU citizens and their families who can prove to UK authorities that they lawfully resided before the yet-to-be specified Brexit cut-off date, must be granted "settled status" by the British authorities for after Brexit.

"Caseworkers considering applications will be able to use their discretion where appropriate, meaning those applying to stay in the UK after we leave the EU will not have their applications refused for minor technicalities. We expect the majority of cases to be granted," the UK home office and the department for exiting the EU said in a statement.

Describing plans for the mass registration process, the UK said it would give a two-year 'grace period' after Brexit to apply for the settled status. EU citizens are encouraged to start voluntarily registering after the first phase of Brexit talks is over.

Conditions for refusals will have to be specified in the withdrawal agreement, the paper says.

Those who have lived in the UK for less than five years, the period required for permanent residency, will get a temporary status until they reach the five-year mark.

The UK pledged ahead of this week's Brexit negotiations that the costs of the application will be no more than that of a British passport, attempting to dispel fears that the process will be disproportionately expensive for EU citizens.

The UK would not require citizens who are self-employed, economically not active, or studying to hold a comprehensive sickness insurance, a difficult and costly administrative procedure to go through.

No biometric data will be required, such as fingerprints, EU citizens will only need to submit a photograph.

EU citizens will have the right to appeal at UK courts if their application is rejected, but the policy paper makes no mention of the European Court of Justice, which the EU insists should be the final guarantor of citizens' rights.

The UK government says that the new system for applying for a "settled status" will be "streamlined, low-cost and user-friendly".

"We will support everyone wishing to stay to gain settled status through a new straightforward, streamlined system," the UK's Brexit secretary David Davis said Tuesday in a statement.

The policy paper adds that there would be security checks on EU citizens, and those with criminal records or who pose a "threat to public order or security" might be booted out.

The EU has advocated for a cheap and easy-to-use system for EU citizens to apply for residency after Brexit.

A group representing EU citizens in the UK, the3million, said they still object to the settled status, and to criminality checks. The group expressed concern on Twitter that the appeal process is unclear, while the cut-off date for EU citizens has still not been confirmed.

Brexit talks to resume next week

UK and EU officials will get together next Thursday to try to achieve "sufficient progress" by December on key issues for unlocking the next phase of negotiations.

EU begins preparations for Brexit trade talks

The EU has launched internal preparations for phase two of Brexit talks, but a December breakthrough only possible if UK gives more detail on divorce issues first.

Infographic

Citizens' rights: where EU and UK differ

The rights of 3.5 million EU citizens living in the UK and 1.2 million UK nationals living in EU countries is one of the key issues of the Brexit talks.

Column

Democracy — is it in crisis or renaissance?

Countries that were once democratising are now moving in the other direction — think of Turkey, Myanmar, Hungary or Tunisia. On the other hand, in autocracies mass mobilisation rarely succeeds in changing political institutions. Think of Belarus, Iran or Algeria.

Opinion

More money, more problems in EU answer to US green subsidies

Industrial energy-intense sectors, outside Germany and France, will not move to the US. They will go bust, as they cannot compete in a fragmented single market. So to save industry in two member states, we will kill the rest?

Latest News

  1. Democracy — is it in crisis or renaissance?
  2. EU lobby register still riddled with errors
  3. Polish backpedal on windfarms put EU funds at risk
  4. More money, more problems in EU answer to US green subsidies
  5. Study: EU electricity transition sped into high gear in 2022
  6. Russia and China weaponised pandemic to sow distrust, MEPs hear
  7. Frontex to spend €100m on returning migrants this year
  8. EU aims to simplify tax credits to counteract US green subsidies

Stakeholders' Highlights

  1. Party of the European LeftJOB ALERT - Seeking a Communications Manager (FT) for our Brussels office!
  2. European Parliamentary Forum for Sexual & Reproductive Rights (EPF)Launch of the EPF Contraception Policy Atlas Europe 2023. 8th February. Register now.
  3. Europan Patent OfficeHydrogen patents for a clean energy future: A global trend analysis of innovation along hydrogen value chains
  4. Forum EuropeConnecting the World from the Skies calls for global cooperation in NTN rollout
  5. EFBWWCouncil issues disappointing position ignoring the threats posed by asbestos
  6. Nordic Council of MinistersLarge Nordic youth delegation at COP15 biodiversity summit in Montreal

Stakeholders' Highlights

  1. Nordic Council of MinistersCOP27: Food systems transformation for climate action
  2. Nordic Council of MinistersThe Nordic Region and the African Union urge the COP27 to talk about gender equality
  3. Friedrich Naumann Foundation European DialogueGender x Geopolitics: Shaping an Inclusive Foreign Security Policy for Europe
  4. Obama FoundationThe Obama Foundation Opens Applications for its Leaders Program in Europe
  5. EFBWW – EFBH – FETBBA lot more needs to be done to better protect construction workers from asbestos
  6. European Committee of the RegionsRe-Watch EURegions Week 2022

Join EUobserver

Support quality EU news

Join us