Theresa May Begins Brexit Negotiations with Brussels

European flag with one star off


Theresa May made what she calls a “fair and serious offer” to the EU leaders over the contentious issue of the future rights of EU citizens. May has offered for those who have arrived lawfully before Brexit the chance to “accumulate” the same rights to work, healthcare and benefits as ordinary UK citizens.

Theresa May mentioned that the UK is willing to agree to a “cutoff point” between 29 March this year and March 2019 as preferred by the European Commission.

Those EU citizens who are already in the UK and those who arrive lawfully during a subsequent “grace period” will be handed an opportunity to “earn” themselves a permanent residence document, which the build-up is for 5 years. This new grace period can start at any point up to the date of Brexit and would give EU citizens some time to regularise their immigration status.

While some may argue that a clear answer or at least an offer has been made. It should be mentioned that this “offer” is exactly the same as the system now. There is no indication that it will be easier or quicker to obtain Permanent Resident status. The only thing certain is that this “offer” has a countdown set to March 2019. It implies that any EU citizen coming in the UK after this date will not be included and after the period is over any new arrivals would be subject to whatever immigration rules would be present.

This “offer” is set to balance and gamble on the rights of the 1.2 million British Citizens currently living in the EU. Theresa may has mentioned to the EU leaders that she does not want to see anyone already in the UK or EU forced to leave, or split families apart.

Therese May has said that “The UK’s position represents a fair and serious offer, and one aimed at giving as much certainty as possible to citizens who have settled in the UK, building careers and lives and contributing so much to our society”.

The problem is that the UK is resisting to concede to the EU’s demand to allow the Court of Justice of the European Union to oversee the guarantee of those rights. A UK government official has said that this commitment would be enshrined in UK law, and will be enforceable through UK courts.”

Jean-Claude Juncker, the president of the European Commission has stated that this offer is “not sufficient” in and of itself. The founding member of the3million group Anne-Laure Donskoy has mentioned that this offer was “disappointing” and “really falls short of our expectations”.

Both sides (UK and the EU) would like to get the issue of citizens rights wrapped up as soon as possible it would not only improve the British view of their own politicians but would give certainty for EU leaders and EU citizens.

However, EU nationals should not take this “offer” as the end all be all decision. The discussions are still to last for two years and many changes can be made and should be expected.

It would still be in the best interest of all current EU nationals in the UK to apply for Permanent Residence or Qualified Person certificates and not wait for the last days.

Moreover, there is no solid evidence that the application will not get harder, more expensive or more time consuming.

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