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British Prime Minister Theresa May (L) and German Chancellor Angela Merkel attend the EU summit in Brussels, Belgium, on June 22.
British Prime Minister Theresa May (L) and German Chancellor Angela Merkel attend the EU summit in Brussels, Belgium, on June 22.

May Unveils Offer on EU Citizens

A new “UK settled status” would grant EU migrants who had lived in the UK for five years rights to stay and access health, education and other benefits

May Unveils Offer on EU Citizens

About three million EU citizens living in the UK would be allowed to stay after Brexit, Theresa May has proposed.
A new “UK settled status” would grant EU migrants who had lived in the UK for five years rights to stay and access health, education and other benefits, BBC reported.
Proposals were unveiled at a Brussels summit but are dependent on EU states guaranteeing Britons the same rights.
German Chancellor Angela Merkel called the plan a “good start”, but Labour said it was “too little, too late”.
Many EU citizens in the UK and Britons living abroad are worried about their status once Brexit happens. The UK’s exit deadline is 30 March 2019.
Addressing other EU leaders at her first summit since the general election, the prime minister said she did not want anyone to have to leave or families to split up.
“No one will face a cliff edge,” she said.
“The UK’s position represents a fair and serious offer, one aimed at giving as much certainty as possible to citizens who have settled in the UK, building careers and lives, and contributing so much to our society.”
May said the UK wanted to protect the rights of EU citizens in the UK and the rights of UK expats in other European countries.
But Downing Street has not yet specified what the cutoff date will be for new residents, after which the guarantee would no longer apply. It will be no earlier than March 2017, when the UK formally began leaving the EU by issuing the Article 50 notification, and no later than March 2019 when it will actually leave.
Those arriving up until the point of departure would have a “grace period”-expected to be two years-to build up the same “UK settled status”, she told EU leaders.
May also said the system would be streamlined, doing away with an 85-page permanent residency application form that has attracted complaints.

  Uncertainty for a year
Labour’s Keir Starmer, the shadow Brexit secretary, said “Labour has been clear that people should not be bargaining chips in the Brexit negotiations.
“The prime minister’s offer is too little, too late and falls far short of the full and unilateral guarantee Labour would make.”
Giving a “clear commitment” that there would be no change in the status of EU nationals in the UK would help deliver the same deal for UK nationals living in the EU, he added.
Liberal Democrat leader Tim Farron said the plans left too many unanswered questions.
“Theresa May could have given a guarantee from day one, instead she has allowed our friends, colleagues and neighbors to live in uncertainty for a year,” he said.
“Even now, Theresa May continues to insist on using EU nationals in Britain as bargaining chips and has failed to provide a full and clear right to stay for all.”
Merkel told reporters she wanted “the widest possible security guarantees for EU citizens” from the Brexit deal and called the offer “a good start”.
She added: “But there are still many, many other questions linked to the exit, including on finances and the relationship with Ireland. So we have a lot to do until [the next EU summit in] October.”
Both the UK and the rest of the EU say they want to come to an arrangement to secure the status of the 3.2 million EU citizens in the UK and the estimated 1.2 million Britons living in EU countries.

 

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