In a new Command Paper, which can be viewed here, the British government sets out an administrative framework for qualifying EU citizens in a post-Brexit world. Those citizens would have to apply for a new form of residence status, with qualifying individuals being granted settled status in UK law. Family dependants who join a qualifying EU citizen in the UK before Brexit would be able to apply for settled status after five years.
These new rights in British law would be enforceable in the UK’s courts; the Court of Justice of the European Union would no longer have jurisdiction to adjudicate on such rights.
The policy paper sets out the following details:
- qualifying EU citizens would have to apply for residence status which would be granted to them (as opposed to recognised, as a matter of law, as is currently the case under EU law)
- EU citizens must have been resident in the UK before a specified date and must have completed a period of five years’ continuous residence in the UK in order to apply for settled status
- EU citizens who arrive and became resident before the specified date would be able to apply for temporary status in order to remain resident in the UK until they have accumulated five years, after which they would be eligible to apply for settled status
- EU citizens who arrive after the specified date would be allowed to remain in the UK for at least a temporary period and may become eligible to settle permanently, subject to compliance with immigration rules
- family members who join a qualifying EU citizen in the UK before the UK’s exit would be able to apply for settled status after five years irrespective of the specified date
- the ‘specified date’ will be no earlier than the 29 March 2017, the date the formal Article 50 process for exiting the EU was triggered, and no later than the date of the UK’s withdrawal from the EU in (presumably) 2019
- the government will apply rules to exclude those who are serious or persistent criminals and those considered a threat to the UK
- EU citizens with settled status would continue to have access to UK benefits on the same basis as a comparable UK national under domestic law