Picture:
Picture:
Leon Neal/Getty Images

Theresa May has finally made public her plans for “safeguarding the position of EU citizens” living in the UK – but there are a few snags.

Here are some of the downsides to the government's plans.

1. Rights aren’t guaranteed for all

All EU nationals must live in the UK for five years before they can apply for “settled status,” where they will be allowed to bring over spouses and children.

But those who come after a date not yet agreed will have two years to “regularise their status". The government’s document states these people, “may become eligible to settle permanently, depending on their circumstances – but this group should have no expectation of guaranteed settled status”.

2. Those who leave will lose out

EU citizens who leave the UK for two years or more will lose their right to stay, AKA, the aforementioned “settled status”.

3. Those who already have the right to be here will need to reapply

EU nationals who already have residency cards will need to reapply under the new system.

4. Using people as “bargaining chips”

Labour’s Jeremy Corbyn has said dealing with citizens’ rights now is “too little too late” and shows that the government is using people as “bargaining chips” in Brexit negotiations.

5. The future is uncertain for Brits abroad

The government states that the UK “fully expects” other EU countries to offer a similar deal for UK nationals living elsewhere in the EU. That doesn’t quite sound like a guarantee just yet.

6. There’s a lot of paperwork ahead

It’s anticipated that there will be around three million potential applications for “settled status,” which will cause a bit of an admin nightmare. The document states: "It will be impractical to issue a very high volume of residence documents immediately when the UK leaves. We need to avoid a legal gap between the end of free movement rights and the point at which individuals apply for and obtain UK immigration status.”

7. Student support may be taken away

The government promises that EU students starting at university between 2017 and 2018/19 will be eligible for student support and home fee status. Oh, and they’ll also be guaranteed the right to remain in the UK while they study. What happens to those applying after this is anyone’s guess.

8. Future family members will get a bad deal

Future family members, such as a future spouse, of EU citizens who arrive before an as-yet-specified date will have the same rights as non-EU nationals joining British citizens. This means higher visa fees, NHS costs and the possibility of a strict income test.

Keep reading...Show less
Please log in or register to upvote this article
The Conversation (0)