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back to index backGLOBALtalk February,  2017


Will EU nationals be allowed to stay in UK after Brexit?

Proposed amendment to Article 50 offers guarantee of rights for Europeans already in country.

Uncertainty continues to cloud the fate of the 3.3 million EU nationals currently residing in the UK, after MPs last night voted to trigger Article 50 and begin the process of withdrawing from the EU.

The European Union (notification of withdrawal) bill, which was passed by a 498 to 114 majority, has no mention of what will happen to the people from the 27 other member states who are living, working or studying in the UK.

However, MPs are to begin voting on hundreds of proposed amendments to the bill, the "most potent" of which would guarantee protection for EU nationals living in the UK, says Channel 4 political editor Gary Gibbon.

The proposal was tabled for debate by parliament's joint committee on human rights, chaired by former Labour frontbencher Harriet Harman, and is gaining cross-party momentum.

It states that "nothing in this Act shall affect the continuation of those residence rights enjoyed by EU citizens lawfully resident in the United Kingdom on 23 June 2016".

The committee specifies that the amendment "would not grant any new rights, but would simply seek to preserve the current residence rights of those EU citizens lawfully in the UK at the time of the referendum vote".

A number of Tory MPs are "said to be ready to back attempts to secure EU nationals' rights if they are already in the UK", The Independent reports, with the Daily Mail quoting a Westminster source claiming that at least six are ready to unite with the opposition to support the amendment.

Last month, Prime Minister Theresa May faced criticism for refusing to guarantee the rights of EU nationals in her long-awaited keynote speech on the government's Brexit strategy.

Instead, she said she hoped to deal with the issue "as soon as possible", implying that other EU leaders were to blame for the failure to secure a reciprocal protection that would also safeguard the rights of UK citizens living in the bloc.

"I have told other EU leaders that we could give people the certainty they want straight away and reach such a deal now. Many of them favour such an agreement. One or two others do not," she said.

German Chancellor Angela Merkel is believed to be one of those who rejected an early reciprocal deal on the issue of citizens living abroad, The Guardian reported at the time.

Source: The Week - GAI






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