At the end of December the UK Government concluded the first phase of the Brexit negotiations, and published some information on Citizens’ Rights. In summary:
• UK nationals and their families – including children born or adopted outside that Member State after 29 March 2019 – will be able to stay in the Member State in which they reside.
• Close family members will be able to join UK nationals after Brexit, provided the relationship existed on 29 March 2019 and continues to exist.
• Member States may require UK nationals and family members to obtain right of residence status or residence documents.
• UK nationals and their family can be absent from their Member State for up to 5 years without losing their right to return, and will continue to have the same access as they currently do to healthcare, pensions, and other benefits.
This summary was adapted from the UK Government’s Policy Paper accessed on 2 January 2018. More information is available in the Joint Report from the negotiators of the EU and the UK on progress and in the Comparison Table of the UK and EU positions on Citizens’ Rights.
Initial responses from Brits abroad have included:
‘It’s something, but it’s not as much as I would have liked. It guarantees a selection of existing rights, but not all of them. As I understand it, onward movement, for example, is limited. And as someone who is in Europe but on a temporary contract where I may or may not end up back in the UK at some point prior to Brexit and subsequently wish to return, I’m not sure it offers enough to reassure me.’ Mark in Germany.
‘…this agreement means nothing. It is not law. We do not know what will happen to our rights in 2019. There are a couple of positives I can find: Citizenship is currently the only way to guarantee your rights in your host country. That is clear, helps focus my mind and should help to focus others.’ Alex in Finland
‘I am waiting for an authoritative analysis of what this means in practical terms but my first impression is that we have been thrown under the proverbial bus…’ Sarah in Romania.
One of the most important goals of our research is to understand how the evolving negotiations affect UK Citizens like you. So we’d like to ask you to tell us, in as much depth as you can, your thoughts on this agreement. Perhaps you might think about:
• How might these proposals affect you and your family, if they become law? Do you see this agreement – if ratified – making any difference to your everyday working and personal life in the short- and long-term?
• Has the agreement changed the way you think about your future? Such as applying for residency or citizenship status for you or your children, if you have them? Or getting involved in campaigning for something specific?
• Are you reassured by the Government’s statement that healthcare, pensions, and benefits won’t be affected? If not, what worries you specifically?
• What concerns do you think the UK Government should focus on during Phase 2 of the negotiations, and why are these important to you and your family?
You can write to us, record a voice message, or if you’d like to talk in depth we can arrange a Skype interview with a member of the project team. You can download a copy of our January Directive here.