Asia & Australia

March 01, 2017

EU Migrants Arriving In UK After Brexit Talks Process Will Not Be Entitled Permanently Stay


Theresa May

British PM Theresa May reportedly plans to rule that EU migrants arriving in the UK after the Brexit talks process begins will not be automatically entitled to permanently stay in the UK.

Reportedly, May is also understood to have decided that EU migrants who have arrived in the UK before this "cut-off date" will be given rights, as long as British citizens in other EU countries are treated in a similar manner.

According to legal experts, there is no impediment to the Prime Minister doing that as EU citizens are allowed permanent residency in another EU country only after five years under the so-called Citizenship Directive. Siobhán Stack, a Dublin-based senior counsel who specializes in constitutional and EU law, said that May highlighted that the UK will likely be out of the EU in five years. Therefore, migrants who arrive after the Brexit talks process is triggered will not benefit from the permanent residency element of the Citizenship Directive.

According to Stack, "If she [Theresa May] said from April 2017 we would no longer adhere to the Citizenship Directive, then she would be acting unlawfully. But she's not. She's giving a cut-off date and saying anybody who arrives after this is not going to get the benefit of whatever reciprocal deal is negotiated with the EU for EU migrants in the UK and British citizens throughout the EU."

It is unlikely that Irish citizens will be affected by the reported plans, given the repeated commitment by both Irish and British governments to maintain the common travel area.

May’s spokesperson said that “she wants to settle the question of the rights of EU citizens living in Britain as a priority but has not set a timetable for her migration policies.”

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