Government Makes Partial Concession Regarding EU Citizens’ Residency Rights

The Prime Minster, Theresa May, has confirmed that EU migrants who come to the UK during the Brexit transitional period will have the right to permanent settlement in the UK. This is a major change from the government’s earlier stance on EU immigration.

The government’s new stance confirms that that EU migrants who arrive in the UK after March 2019 will be given a five-year temporary residence permit and not the two-year residence permit that was previously proposed.

Importantly, the policy paper does reveal restricts on the immigration rights of family members of EU citizens. It states that EU migrants who come to live and work in the UK during the transition period will not be able to bring family members to join them in the UK once the transitional period ends. Instead, it appears that such family members will have to meet family immigration rules which currently apply only to non-EU citizens, namely showing a minimum gross annual income of £18,600.

EU citizens arriving during the transition period will be able to reside in the UK for up the five years, after which time they will be eligible, if they wish to apply, for the right to stay permanently. The paper states that “a temporary status in UK law that will enable them to stay after the implementation period has concluded – this means that they will be able to remain lawfully in the UK working, studying or being self-sufficient for the five years needed to obtain settlement”. It also states that those EU migrants who wish to stay for the long term will have to register within three months of arriving.

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