What conclusions may be drawn from an analysis of the UK’s proposals on EU citizens’ rights post- Brexit? There needs to be careful thought given to some of the implications that can be gathered from the UK’s position paper.
Much has been made in the position paper and many media comments that the proposals merely serve to bring EU citizens in line with current immigration law for entry into the UK for UK citizens and their families but this is not the whole or a balanced story.
Let us be revolutionary and look at this set of proposals from the standpoint of a citizen of the UK?
The UK in its position paper is emphasising two points:
- That post Brexit the qualifying EU citizens (broader EEA citizens still to be clarified) will “enjoy” the same rights as British citizens do presently.
- It expects those rights (and presumably limitations) to be reciprocated.
See paragraph 16 of the detailed proposals.
- The UK fully expects that the EU and its member states will ensure, in a reciprocal way that the rights set out above are similarly protected for UK nationals living across the EU before the specified date. Firstly, UK nationals in the EU must be able to attain a right equivalent to settled status in the country in which they reside. Secondly, they must be able to continue to access benefits and services across the member states akin to the way in which they do now.
What this means in practical terms for British citizens is not Safeguarding the Position of EU Citizens Living in the UK and UK Nationals Living in the EU But rather:
Be careful with whom you fall in love
First of all the message is clear from the government. Don’t bother falling for someone from another EU (Don’t even mention an EEA) state.
The Position Paper is strangely silent on what may happen to post Brexit EU love.
All that can be gleaned is from the end of para 32 and 33 of the Paper.
“If the specified date (As yet unspecified) is set at the date of the UK’s withdrawal from the EU, these new post-exit arrangements would automatically apply to EU citizens and their family members who arrive after that date.
- The ability of EU citizens arriving after the specified date subsequently to obtain further
or indefinite permission to stay will depend on the rules in place at the time at which they
apply. These will be decided by the UK closer to the time.” (So nobody knows)
So yet another “we don’t know and we won’t tell” option on the bargaining table this is not easy for people who are already in a relationship with an EU (EEA) partner but even more of a problem is those of us who are in a relationship with a non EEA national.
UK citizens with non-EEA national partners
Presently, courtesy of EU law, I may take my African partner to any EU country other than the UK to live and stay with me as long as I am “qualified” (working, self-employed, student or self-sufficient, the latter two with health insurance and means).
I can do that as a matter of course. And then if we both qualify we can return to the UK on the Surinder Singh route. https://www.gov.uk/family-permit/surinder-singh
Thus we are both ensured family life and continuity of relationship.
The effect of the British Position Paper is that it will strip me of the right to bring my partner to Europe. That will now be closed to me.
I hope others will share my outrage at having a right eroded in this fashion without any consultation.
The future for any British Citizen who wants to bring their partner, EU, EEA non-EU/EEEA, to live with them will not be easy if they want to live in the UK.
There will be the language test, British awareness test and the minimum income rule to resolve. As things stand with the UK’s offer that is for everyone. Please check out the details https://www.gov.uk/uk-family-visa/partner-spouse
Do not be side-tracked by the specific inclusion in the position paper of:
“an assessment of conduct and criminality, including not being considered a threat to
That has always been there and it has always remained within the power of any judge in a criminal trial to recommend deportation for any person they deem:
“Their presence in the UK is not conducive to the public good.”
The UK has always had and always will retain control of its borders.
Following the UK’s Brexit Position Paper its citizens stand to lose what some may think as basic rights to fall in love, have children, and look after their elderly parents if this current proposal is enacted.